By Travis Smola
“I hope that the townspeople appreciate and the businesses appreciate your generosity,” Christmas walk organizer Deb Christiansen told the Schoolcraft Village Council.
“But in organizing the event this year I was getting a little bit of pushback,” Christiansen added. She said she had asked each of the business owners to contribute $50 towards expenses for the walk. The annual event is highlighted by arts and crafts sales, bake goods, holiday music, food service and other items for sale at local businesses and churches. Christiansen has been involved with the walk for a few years since the walk’s founder, Norma Tackett, passed away.
Christiansen said much of the $642 she was asking for goes to advertising in the South County News. “I feel it is very important to have the advertisement there,” she said. Christiansen also plans to use the funds for other promotional materials and presented posters and brochures for the event to the council.
She also asked about the possibility of the village opening its building during the walk as a restroom stop and a place for walkers to warm up in case of bad weather. “The public restrooms are really kind of limited downtown,” she added.
When the Council discussed the matter, Trustee Todd Carlin asked if the funds could possibly come out of the Downtown Development Authority’s fund. Village Manager Cheri Lutz and Finance Director Tammi Youngs said funds are available there and could probably be used for the purpose.
Council members unanimously agreed to approve the financial assistance and rounded the number up to $650. Lutz also told Christiansen they could discuss possible use of the village’s building for the event. “Thank you from the bottom of my heart,” Christiansen said.
The council at the meeting also approved $510 in financial assistance to Eagle’s Nest. The Nest operates the Schoolcraft Food Pantry and Friday Pack, which provides meals to students on weekends who might otherwise not eat. It also operates Adam’s Kids, which provides food, diapers and other necessities to struggling families.
The three organizations receive a lot of support and donations from local churches and youth groups, but were there to ask the council’s support to pay their utilities. They noted that the food pantry has improved greatly and there is no waiting list to receive donations this year. “We thank you very much for what you do for us because we can continue to serve those who come to us and ask for help,” Sue Kuiper of Friday Pack told the Council.
The Eagle’s Nest item was already in the budget; trustees unanimously approved the request for another year. The trustees thanked the agencies for their service to the community. “Your lights won’t go out this year,” Gunnett said.