St. Clair ShoresOctober 2, 2013
Giving back, one purchase at a time
By Kristyne E. Demske
C & G Staff Writer
ST. CLAIR SHORES — The American craft movement is a story of people supporting the arts and the arts supporting people, according to a local business owner.
That’s why she’s using her store to promote and support local charities in a weeklong Community Giving Spree this month.
Circare, a specialty gift shop at 23024 Greater Mack Ave., will host its first Community Giving Spree from Oct. 7-12. During that week, all customers will receive 10 percent off their purchases and then will be able to designate one of eight charities to receive another 10 percent of their purchase price.
Gloria Kinne, the owner of Circare, said she chose that week because it is the store’s 26th anniversary, and also because that is American Craft Week.
“That’s a big part of what we do,” said Kinne. “Promoting both of Circare’s communities: the community around us and also the larger American craft community that we represent.
“Art for the people and people for art — I really do see a connection there.”
Kinne has been hosting fundraisers for various groups and charities for several years now. She called them “giving sprees,” and the organization would be responsible for circulating a promotion code that would give its members a discount and also get a donation for the organization.
“It’s been in the back of my mind for a long time that I’d like to do a larger one,” she said.
She started making a list of organizations she’s involved with or people who have been a part of giving sprees before, but it got too long. So she launched a weeklong contest on Circare’s Facebook page and in the store Sept. 16, where supporters were asked to vote for their favorite charity from the list. Eight made the cut: 4 Paws 1 Heart, The Fowler Center for Outdoor Learning, Handbags of Hope, Kids on the Go, Kids Without Cancer, Optimists of St. Clair Shores, The Lake House and Soroptimist International of Grosse Pointe.
“I was struggling with it because they’re all good,” Kinne said. “This is all about community. ... I would let my community decide.”
The charities benefitting say they’re grateful for the opportunity to spread the word about their mission and receive support for doing so.
St. Clair Shores-based 4 Paws 1 Heart pays for medical treatment for abandoned and stray companion animals, predominantly cats and dogs. President and co-founder Diana Rascano said the animals helped are often brought into the emergency veterinarian by good Samaritans or public safety officials. But unless a doctor agrees to donate his or her services, the animals risked being euthanized.
“We felt that if we provided a pool of money where we could pay for that animal to be taken care of (and) build a relationship with other (animal) rescues to take in the animal … at least we would reduce some of the killing that goes on in the area of abandoned animals,” Rascano said.
The group relies entirely on fundraising and individual donations and therefore appreciates Circare’s support.
“Anytime you can get other people to fundraise for you when you’re a non-profit, it’s a beautiful thing, especially when you’re such a small organization,” she said. “I’m happy to do it because it’s a St. Clair Shores shop and just see how much money we can dig up. It’s always good exposure for people to know about us.”
Eastpointe resident and the founder and president of Handbags for Hope, Jackie Bobcean, agreed.
“Anytime that we’re invited to raise funds, we get excited,” she said.
Her organization takes donated purses and fills them with a wallet, hairbrush, manicure set, memo pad or calendar, lip balm, tissues, hand lotion, travel size body wash, and deodorant; then, it gives them to women at domestic violence shelters around the state. They’ve given more than 17,000 away since 2006, Bobcean said.
Also on the list of organizations that will benefit from the Community Giving Spree is Kids on the Go, based out of Grosse Pointe Woods and St. Clair Shores. The organization recently completed its 15th summer providing multidisciplinary camps backed by occupational, physical and speech therapy for special needs children.
The support is needed, said Kristy Schena, the group’s founder and executive director, because most insurance companies will not pay for therapy to continue during the summer months.
“A normal developing child can take until the end of September to catch up (after the summer break),” she said. “A child with special needs, it can take ’til December to catch them up without continuous therapy through the summer months.”
Schena said she was pleased with the support her group received in the Facebook vote.
“The benefits of social media, these days it’s a great way to let people support local business and at the same time support local charities,” she said.
Kinne is also planning to host daily 50-50 raffles in which the winner gets to choose which charity to split the money with; there may also be local artists and demonstrators in the store throughout the week.
“I like to think that it’s a win for everyone,” she said. “I want to promote the fact that we support American craft and give more awareness to the American craftsmen that I carry.”
She appreciates that the shop and buy-local movement is gaining so much attention nowadays.
“That whole idea and concept has just exploded,” she said. “If this is a way I can afford to give more, all to the better.”
For more information, visit www.facebook.com/CircareGifts or call (586) 771-8510.