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Co-op News

2024 Bring-a-Bag Candidates

The Bring-a-Bag Fund is one way the Keweenaw Co+op gives back to our community and promotes the conservation of natural resources at the same time. Every time a shopper brings their own reusable shopping bag or basket instead of using a new paper bag (provided by the co-op), the campaign fund is credited for each bag saved. The savings in the campaign fund are donated in six-month cycles to a local organization, group, or project selected by the co-op owners. Two recipients are selected each year.

"Big Annie" Statue Fund - Keweenaw Community Foundation

"Big Annie" Statue Fund Webpage

Honor the legacy of Anna Klobuchar Clemenc “Big Annie” 1888-1956 with a bronze statue for her historic role in the 1913 Copper Strike when women had no voice and no vote. The statue will promote our local copper mining history and encourage people to speak up for fair wages, job safety, and social justice. Annie is honored on the State and National level but nothing local. Annie Klobuchar Clemenc should not be forgotten.


Calumet Art Center, Inc.

Calumet Art Center Website

The Mission of the Calumet Art Center, Inc. is to create a safe learning environment where art, culture, and history inspire and challenge the people of the Keweenaw.

Calumet Art Center creates a rare integration of human creativity and scholarship that strengthens an appreciation of historic and cultural values and encourages varied modes of unique expression.

Monies received could help in making art available to children of the area through free classes....while there are many possible objectives available, art and mental health are just as important to children as physical activity. We would like to be able to offer classes to kids, free of charge, and this program would help immensely.


Calumet Free Fridge (working with From the Ground Farmers Market Collective)

Calumet Free Fridge Facebook Page

The Office Shop Facebook Page

From the Ground Farmers Market Collective Facebook Page

The Calumet Free Fridge's mission is to provide the people of Calumet, and the surrounding area, access to free local produce, meat, and goods - no questions asked. We feel that high-quality fresh food is a basic right for everyone.
The fridge and food pantry are located in The Office Shop in Calumet.

While we are still in year one of the Calumet Free Fridge, we have seen a huge increase in the amount of people utilizing the fridge. An estimated 200 people per week use the fridge and pantry. At times, with lines at the door waiting for the Office Shop to open on Monday morning. Right now much of the food is donated to the fridge by our local Calumet market vendors and local retailers.

However, the need has outpaced the donations and our vendors are only able to donate so much produce. The money from the Bring-a-Bag program will help to pay our local farmers to get their produce into the fridge so our community will continue to have access to fresh, healthy, local produce at no charge to them, and our farmers will be compensated for their hard work. The money from this program will help a wide range of people in the Calumet area. We also provide recipes and other information about our area farmers' markets that accept food access programs, so people are aware of other options to keep fresh food in their diet.

Also, bringing donations from the farmers' market helps to reduce food waste as in years past, unsold produce was composted or given to farm animals. We have seen a huge increase in support from surrounding Keweenaw businesses working with our fridge program to help raise monetary donations or bring in items to donate. The amount of support and number of community members wanting to get involved, donate, or help in some way has been incredible and we are always looking for ways to improve what we do and increase the access to free healthy food.


Canterbury House (Episcopal Association of College Work)

Canterbury House Facebook Page

Canterbury House (EACW) is dedicated to providing crucial support to MTU international students, their families, and members of the Michigan Tech LGBTQ+ community. Through our food pantry assistance program and other initiatives, we strive to address personal care and emergency needs, ensuring that everyone in our diverse community has access to essential resources and support during challenging times.

Expanding our program to offer nutritious food in a judgment-free zone will not only meet the immediate needs of our diverse community but also foster a sense of belonging and acceptance. By creating an inclusive environment where individuals feel supported and respected, we can significantly grow our program's impact, empowering more people to thrive and contribute positively to our community.


CCISD Equipment Loans of the Keweenaw

CCISD Equipment Loans of the Keweenaw Website

CCISD Equipment Loans of the Keweenaw provides free adaptive equipment, programming, and durable medical equipment to people with physical disabilities in the Copper Country. Because of generous community donations and grants, CCISD has made a huge impact on our community's ability to access physical activity.

This year, CCISD ELK has supported athletes with disabilities in the following ways:

  1. Established Keweenaw Rocket Sled Hockey Team for 15 people with disabilities and their families and friends
  2. Supported the inclusion of middle and high school adaptive track and field athletes in school sports with equipment, training, and advocacy
  3. Supported developmental and competitive Nordic Ski team with equipment, trail passes, and training
  4. Competitive and recreational hand cycling (with athletes competing in community races)
  5. Community adaptive pickle ball and tennis program.

CCISD ELK provides free adaptive sports equipment, training, access to facilities/trails, and pays competition fees. Contributions from our community make all of this possible. This summer and fall, CCISD ELK would like to provide adaptive hiking equipment for families with children with disabilities to use to access the beauty that we live in. Access to nature and physical activity is associated with improved mental and physical outcomes for people with disabilities and their families. Donations from this program will allow us to continue our life-changing work. Thank you for considering us.


Copper Country Angel Mission Food Bank

Copper Country Angel Mission Website

Copper Country Angel Mission (CCAM) operates a food pantry in Calumet, distributing food to needy residents in Houghton, Keweenaw, Baraga, and Ontonagon Counties

This rural area includes 53,381 residents (Baraga County: 8,158, Keweenaw County: 2,046, Houghton County: 37,361, and Ontonagon County: 5,816). The included counties have a range of residents that are at or below 100% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) (Baraga: 14.2%, Keweenaw: 10.3%, Houghton: 19% and Ontonagon: 16%). School-age children are affected by that poverty with 20% of Houghton County’s population between ages 5 and 18, 16% in Keweenaw County, 18% in Baraga County, and 12% in Ontonagon County. (U.S Census Bureau 2020).

Last year, the food pantry served 1,638 people, giving away food valued at $116,000. The cost to CCAM was a little less than $3000, but required a lot of volunteers to transport and organize food donations from local distribution locations.

Copper Country Angel Mission (CCAM) is a non-profit, charitable organization that promotes community welfare by serving those in need with compassion and dignity. The corporation is overseen by a board of directors. All personnel and directors are volunteers, with more than 8,000 volunteer hours contributed annually. Support for the charity and its programs has expanded far beyond that of the churches initially involved. CCAM is a secular charity supported by churches, local individuals, organizations, and businesses.


Copper Country Ski Tigers

Copper Country Ski Tigers Website

Copper Country Ski Tigers provides area children with cross-country skiing instruction, fun on the snow, and companionship. It runs a Youth Program for children ages 5 and older, with weekly ski practice for classic skiers in Levels 1-4 and skate skiers in Levels 5-6. Additionally, it oversees the Adventure Group, Development Team, and Competition Team for older, teen skiers who want to work on their technique or participate in races, and have fun with their peers. Our educational program has been operating in the local area since the early 1990s, with non-profit status starting around 2009, and it has been getting children outside in the winter months of January to March through practices at Swedetown Trails, the Michigan Tech Trails, and Maasto Hiihto Trails. The older groups also train throughout the year.

The money from Bring-a-Bag would benefit the group by allowing us to expand, recruiting more skiers through a scholarship program and recruiting more Youth Group coaches through an appreciation program:
--Skier scholarships: Our program does keep costs low for participants, especially compared to other area winter sports. However, the cost of participation (currently $70) and ski rentals (currently $50) can be too much for local families, and Ski Tigers has offered scholarships in the past. Bring-a-Bag would allow us to reinstate the scholarship process for Youth Group skiers and teen skiers in the 2024-2025 season.
--Coach appreciation: The Youth Group coaches, while volunteers, receive appreciation gifts at the end of the season with certificates from local businesses. The Bring-a-Bag program would allow us to increase the amount of these certificates, supporting our coach recruitment.

In short, Bring-a-Bag would support our group’s mission to provide outdoor educational opportunities in the winter, skiing instruction, and fun on the snow!


Copper Country Suzuki Association

Copper Country Suzuki Website

Our mission is to provide high-quality, low-cost music education for the Keweenaw. The CCSA has private and group violin, viola, and cello lessons, chamber music, and 3 levels of youth orchestra. We provide opportunities for our students to grow as musicians and performers. Music is an excellent avenue for students to express themselves. In 2019, the periodical Independent reported that playing an instrument is associated with improved mental and physical health. Playing an instrument decreases anxiety and depression and increases happiness. In his article, 18 Benefits of Playing an Instrument, Matthews, identifies the following benefits: Increased memory and concentration, improved executive function skills such as time management, discipline and organizational skills, increased social skills such as the ability to work in a group, enhances physical skills such as coordination, fine and gross motor skills, and increases academic skills such as mathematical thinking abilities, reading comprehension, vocabulary and listening skills. Additionally, the article identifies the exposure to other cultures and improvement of happiness and enjoyment. These skills are not confined to just the time that children are involved in music, they transfer to all aspects of the lives of children.

Michael Matthews. 18 Benefits of Playing a Musical Instrument. 
Rampton, John.The Benefits of Playing Music.


Copper Shores Meals on Wheels

Copper Shores Meals on Wheels Website

Our Meals on Wheels program provides companionship and nutritious meals to hundreds of seniors in our community every weekday. People often think it's just about the food, but like the co-op is much more about community than most people realize, our program is so much more than just the meals. We are oftentimes the only people that our seniors see in a day, week, or sometimes even a month. We help make sure everything is ok with them and often are the first to help them when things aren't. We also have been focusing a lot on local food for the last few years, working with as many local food producers as possible. We find our seniors are much more excited about their meals when they know the local story behind it, and it also makes them more likely to eat the healthier food, which is better for their health in the long run.


HuskyFAN (Husky Food Access Network)

HuskyFAN Website

1 in 3 college students are food insecure nationwide, and MTU's campus holds its own challenges. Most students are far from home, and may not have an adequate support system to help during times of financial strain or difficulties with transportation. HuskyFAN provides nutritious, culturally appropriate food with as few barriers as possible to access. The Husky Food Access Network has already distributed 1400lb of food to MTU students since the first week of January 2024. Financial donations given to HuskyFAN go directly into our tax-free grocery fund, which we use to stock consistent essentials like dry beans, rice, pasta, and canned vegetables, fruits, and meats to supplement the physical donations we receive.


Kaleidoscope: Keweenaw Education Organization

Kaleidoscope Website

What is Kaleidoscope? This is a question we are asked a lot and in the simplest of terms, we are a nonprofit organization that provides educational programming in Houghton County, Baraga County, Keweenaw County, and the surrounding areas. This includes virtual electives, in-person classes and clubs, and many community activities throughout the year that are open to all members of the community. The organization was founded in 2019, by a group of parents with the belief that all families should have a say in their children’s educational options and our mission is to provide holistic support and engaging learning experiences to families through classes, virtual options, and community events.

Funding from the Keweenaw Co+op's Bring-a-Bag Donation Program would allow Kaleidoscope to continue offering vouchers to community members to participate in classes/clubs that take place after school and during the summer months for free. Some examples include Tae Kwon Do, Self Defense, Little Learners, Art, Theatre, Tinker Lab, Lego Robotics, Music, Cooking, Fiber Arts, Dance, Ice Skating, and many other events.

The purpose of Kaleidoscope’s after-school and summer programs is to provide high-quality educational, recreational, and social programs for youth. These programs stimulate their social, physical, and intellectual abilities through participation in activities with their peers.
The program goals include the following:
1. To provide high-quality enrichment activities.
2. To provide a structured and safe environment that stresses responsible behavior, respect for others, and positive attitudes.
3. To provide an instructor who will interact with the youth to support their exploration of interests and the development of skills and creativity.

Kaleidoscope should be considered as a recipient of the Keweenaw Co-op’s Bring-a-Bag Donation program because the need for this programming is substantial, and Kaleidoscope has created the infrastructure to plan and implement these offerings. Effective afterschool programs provide learning settings that bring a wide range of benefits to youth, families, and communities. Afterschool programs can support social, emotional, cognitive, and academic development, reduce risky behaviors, promote physical health, and provide a safe and supportive environment for children and youth. Community events create an opportunity for youth to build strong relationships not only with other youth but with the community they live in. These activities can also enhance mental well-being, foster a greater sense of pride in the community, and are fun for everybody who is participating.


Keweenaw Invasive Species Management Area (KISMA)

KISMA Webpage

KISMA's mission is to facilitate cooperation and education among federal, state, tribal, and local groups and landowners to prevent and manage invasive species across land ownership boundaries and to foster native aquatic and terrestrial communities.

We do this by providing education and outreach to community members, property owners, and land managers to help identify and treat priority invasive species. These outreach events include outreach to local schools and schoolchildren, including in Houghton, Hancock, and Chassell Districts, attendance at local farmer's markets, and the hosting of volunteer events to remove invasive species throughout the community.

Donations to our organization are used to provide supplies for these outreach events such as educational materials, snacks, or necessary equipment for volunteers, as well as for purchasing native plant seeds for restoration efforts after we have removed the invasives from an area (often after such volunteer events). Donations are also appreciated to help us cover the fees associated with attendance at local festivals or farmer's markets.

KISMA is currently in the process of expanding our educational outreach events to include new organizations and communities within Houghton, Baraga, and Keweenaw Counties where we may not have worked much with the community in the past and donations to our organization can help us to make greater impacts and reach more of the public within those communities. We want to help everyone learn about the environment and plants around them and how their actions can make a huge impact on our native habitats and wildlife. We appreciate your consideration to be a recipient of the Keweenaw Co+op's Bring-a-Bag Donation Program!


Keweenaw Lions Club

Keweenaw Lions Club Facebook Page

The mission of the Keweenaw Lions Club is to improve health and well-being, strengthen communities, and support those in need through humanitarian services and donations that impact lives in the Keweenaw. Any money we raise through fundraising stays in the immediate area. We are a very small club. The average age of our members is around 70 :-) Even though we are small and older, we have impacted many lives in the Keweenaw and wish to be able to do even more through programs such as the Bring-a-Bag program. We have also seen a trickle-down effect from our donations. A few years ago we donated to the CLK Junior ROTC program which had recently lost its federal funding. Because of the publicity in the paper of our donation a local resident donated $100,000 to the program. You just never know where good work will lead. In addition to the Jr. ROTC program, we have donated to Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly, CLK business classes, Keweenaw Sheriff's No Child without a Christmas, 31 Backpacks, Horizon Alternative High School, Keweenaw/Brockway Hawk Watch, Ahmeek Little League, Omega House, Mohawk 4th of July, Angel Mission, Main Street Calumet, Northwoods AirLifeLine, Leader Dogs for the Blind, Michigan Eversight, Bay Cliff Health Camp and Lions Childhood Cancer to name a few. Even though the last 5 groups are not physically located in our area, our local residents can benefit from those services as needed.

Thank you so much for considering us for the Bring-a-Bag program!!


Keweenaw Outdoor Recreation Coalition

Keweenaw Outdoor Recreation Coalition Website

KORC is a diverse coalition of user groups advocating for an unfragmented and protected Keweenaw Peninsula. Supporting quality of life, rural economic resiliency, recreation, and environmental stewardship. The Bring-a-Bag Donation Program would be instrumental in bringing in additional funds and awareness to the on-the-ground projects KORC initiates and accomplishes each and every year.


Keweenaw Roller Derby

Keweenaw Roller Derby Website

Keweenaw Roller Derby (KRD) is a flat-track roller derby league based out of the Keweenaw Peninsula in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The league was formed in September 2012 for individuals over the age of 18 and draws its members from all over the Copper Country. KRD is also a member league of the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association.

KRD accepts all who are willing to work hard and have fun regardless of shape, size, orientation, and level of athleticism. Through practice, team involvement, and participation in league business, KRD fosters self-esteem, community spirit, sportsmanship, and leadership skills. The league also coordinates with other roller derby leagues in the UP to establish a thriving, committed roller derby community throughout the area.

If KRD is chosen as the recipient of the Bring-A-Bag Donation Program, these funds will be allocated to establish a KRD Gear Library and a Skater Financial Assistance fund. These programs aim to alleviate these financial deterrents and make roller derby in the Copper Country accessible to everyone.

To participate safely in roller derby, skaters must be equipped with appropriate gear. A full set of basic, new equipment (skates, pads, helmet, and mouthguard) costs a minimum of $350. This upfront cost of starting roller derby can deter individuals who would benefit physically and mentally from participation in an inclusive, supportive, and driven athletic community. Similarly, there are ongoing dues and insurance costs each skater must pay to maintain membership; the Skater Financial Assistance fund is designed to support skaters who may be facing financial hardship.

Keweenaw Roller Derby is excited to work with you to bring roller derby to more people across the Copper Country, Thank you for your consideration!


Little Gem Community Center & Community Cupboard

Little Gem Community Center Facebook Page

The Little Gem Community Center opened a Community Cupboard in February 2024. We ask people to leave what they can and take what they need. Since we just opened we need donations of refrigerated, frozen, and non-perishable food items. We also have events for families, teens, and people of all ages to promote healthy activities.


Omega House

Omega House Website

To provide a home-like environment where people at the end of life may live fully, receiving compassionate and competent care from professional, volunteer, and family caregivers. All funds received go toward helping those who can not afford the full cost to reside at Omega House.


Ryan Street Community Garden

Ryan Street Community Garden Website

Ryan Street Community Garden provides Hancock residents the opportunity to grow organic fruits, vegetables, herbs, and flowers for their households. Raised beds are rented to community members each growing season, and the garden provides tools and support on-site. In return, the members maintain this beautiful City of Hancock Park in downtown Hancock. The site is open to the public with a sitting area to enjoy the native and pollinator perennial beds. It is a demonstration site for ecologically sound practices and members participate in educational events during the growing season with local students.

To improve our accessibility RSCG plans to build two taller raised beds. Some members have trouble bending over to the garden. These beds will be raised high enough to enable them to work at counter height. The project will be built this Spring by Hancock High School students with design assistance from the shop teacher, Gary Mishica. We anticipate the total build cost will be $250 each, and depending on supply costs we hope to build two six by 2 feet beds. The Bring-a-Bag donation would help us offset the cost of materials, and help our elders continue gardening with us.


Singletrack Flyers (Copper Harbor Trails Club)

Singletrack Flyers Website

Copper Harbor Trails Club Website

Singletrack Flyers is a youth mountain biking initiative housed under the Copper Harbor Trails Club. Each summer, parents and local volunteers organize weekly mountain bike skills mini-clinics for kids aged ~3-12. Participants start with the basics of riding a mountain (or strider) bike and work their way up to more advanced skills depending on their interests and comfort levels. Soon they're ripping around faster than their parents and having fun while doing it. Volunteer coaches share their passion for trails and bike riding with our participants, encouraging them to get outside in nature, live healthy lifestyles, and enjoy the Keweenaw's abundant trail systems.

By learning key mountain biking skills at a young age, our riders are more likely to ride safely out on the trail. This is important given how challenging many of our local trails are! It also helps develop young riders into future racers if they are interested in pursuing this route. Most importantly, it helps build an appreciation for our area's protected lands and trails. These future trail stewards will continue what we've built for generations to come! Finding friends who like to ride bikes too creates community bonds that link us together.

Singletrack Flyers is still growing its programs. Funds from the Bring-a-Bag campaign will allow us to bring on more coaches, purchase safety and learning equipment, and offer more lessons to a greater number of kids. Whether that's radios, emergency bags, helmets, bike parts, portable skills features, snacks, or shirts, we have a lot of needs to address. We've had a waiting list every year we've offered summer programming and hope even more kids can come to ride their bikes and learn with us.


Superior Search & Rescue

Superior Search & Rescue Website

Superior Search & Rescue provides emergency services in Houghton and Ontonagon counties and supports other counties in the Copper Country in mutual aid. Our mission is to support and manage missing person efforts in the region and to act as a safety net for those who are going outside and exploring the Copper Country. We are available on-call 24/7 and are supported by donations and grants only. We also help support many local events by providing safety communications and basic first aid where needed. We would use some of the funding from this program to help support our operations as the number of incidents that we have been involved with has been going up consistently over the last several years. We think that by partnering together we can support not only our local businesses but also our community.



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