Ada-based nonprofit i understand on Saturday will honor International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day by holding a toy drive and delivering several charitable donations to organizations around Grand Rapids.
Traditionally, i understand celebrates the day each year by riding on the trolley and walking in the city’s annual Jaycee Santa Parade. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, that event has been canceled this year, so i understand planned something different.
The organization still will use the trolley and will honor loved ones lost to suicide by providing needed items to organizations supporting the homeless, children hospitalized and families in need of gifts.
“We have found that helping others helps individuals and families through their grieving process,” said Kim Rantala, director of development and marketing for i understand.
The day’s activities will begin at 9 a.m. with a delivery of stuffed bears and Play-Doh to the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, 100 Michigan St. NE, which also partners with i understand to provide care packages to patients and families following a mental health crisis or death by suicide.
The next stop will be at 10:15 a.m. at the AYA Youth Collective, 320 State St. SE, where i understand will distribute 50 of its “Be the one” T-shirts and 50 care packages with items from recipients’ wish lists, including socks, toothbrushes, lip balm and more. It will then connect with a representative from AMA Without Borders to donate toys, stuffed animals and food.
The last event of the day will be a toy drive sponsored by Toys for Tots. The drive will take place from 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at WZZM, 645 3 Mile Road NW. Its goal is to collect 100 toys in one hour.
Rantala said the toy drive is the best way for community members to get involved with the day’s celebration and also encourages visiting the organizations’ websites for wish list information and making donations.