BY SHERI TRUSTY
Giving Tuesday, a global initiative to encourage generosity, has inspired Ottawa County residents to tangibly support a host of worthy causes. This year, Giving Tuesday fell on Nov. 29, and around the world, people donated $3.1 billion. Locally, county residents poured out their pockets and their hearts to help their neighbors.
Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge (ONWR) boasts over 8,000 acres of protected wetlands, grasslands and forests, much of which is accessible to the public by walking and driving trails. Each year, millions of visitors travel to ONWR to catch glimpses of wildlife, spot migrating birds and decompress in the serenity of nature.
Many of those people showed their appreciation for the accessibility by donating to ONWR. Among them were Becky Ann, who described the refuge as “a place that allows me to escape to nature. I get a chance to reset my mind and body.”
Lori Monska called ONWR “a wildlife and nature gem.”
“I am a lifelong wildlife person, and ONWR is my favorite place in Ohio,” Monska wrote. “I believe in the projects the Friends of ONWR develop to aid the refuge, and Giving Tuesday is one way to show my appreciation for all they do.”
Lesa Heredin, the director of the Humane Society of Ottawa County, is grateful for the many people who donated on Giving Tuesday.
“With the support we get, we can support the community. For instance, we want to help with the feral cat problem, but that takes resources. You’re enabling us to help with some of those things,” Heredin said.
Many people generously donated to the Greater Port Clinton Area Arts Council (GPCAAC) capital campaign which will help fund much-needed renovations to The Arts Garage (TAG). At TAG, thousands of people create and connect with art each year. Donations helps bolster the benefits of art in the community.
“Art enriches our lives, stimulates creativity, and has economic impact on a community,” said GPCAAC President Carol Morgan.
On Giving Tuesday, Catawba Island artist Jan Hackett unveiled her “Giving to Others” Campaign that supports the people of Ukraine and victims of Hurricane Ian. Hackett’s unique and mesmerizing style is captured in her “People of War” and “After the Storm” series of paintings. Help Hackett help others by visiting www.janhackettart.com.
At Port Clinton’s unique pay-it-forward diner, Bistro 163, every day is Giving Tuesday. Diners who pay a little more help fund meals for those in need in the community. Bistro 163 prepares about 18,000 meals every year — including 550 turkey dinners last week thanks to thanks to a donation from Phil Steinle of Steinle Motors — and about 45% of those meals are provided free of charge.
“Almost everyone makes a donation here,” said Bistro 163 volunteer Ed Carlson. “A few people mentioned Giving Tuesday today, and we received online donations, but our customers got in the rhythm of donating every time they eat here.”