There are residents in every community who live with adversity-created needs.
Founded in 2013 by big-hearted friends and Northville residents Lauren Romeo and Jennifer Mullan, the non-profit has positively affected the lives of countless Northvillians — often by hosting fun-themed fundraisers, the proceeds from which go directly to the organization’s worthwhile causes.
MSL’s next event is a March 2 Diaper Drive that asks community members to donate diapers for families in need.
Giving back since 2013
Romeo, who still serves on the MSL board along with Stephanie Smith, Lindsay Pattison, Kellie Wagner and Liz Carter, said the Diaper Drive was the organization’s inaugural fundraising event in 2013.
“I grew up in Northville where my family owned a few small businesses (including Poole’s Tavern),” said Romeo, when asked about the motivation to launch MSL. “Being integrated in the community like I was, I learned about needs some of our residents were dealing with. I wanted to start something that would allow people to give back to people from their own hometown. Our tagline is: ‘Uplifting our community from within.’
“We started the Diaper Drive to create awareness about the needs some young families face. Diapers can be expensive, but it’s not just a financial thing. Not having diapers — or enough diapers — can prevent kids from entering early-education programs … it creates a domino effect if families aren’t secure with their diaper supply.”
People who would like to donate diapers can drop them off at Northville’s The Little Salumi, Romeo noted.
MSL has also organized fun-themed, seasonal fundraisers like its ultra-popular farm-to-table dinner and a witches ride, an event that encourages participants to “get dressed in your most enchanting attire, decorate your ‘broom-cycle’ with haunting accessories and ride to support the Main Street League holiday adopt-a-family program.”
“For the farm-to-table dinner, around 200 people sit at a giant table that sits in the middle of a beautiful garden; it’s really a fantastic event,” Romeo said. “For the witches ride (in October), we have a slow bike roll through Northville with everyone dressed in costumes. The money raised goes toward a family in need who we ‘adopt’ in the fall.
“We like to organize fun events. They’re so much better than a boring auction and cold meal.”
Making a difference
MSL’s benefactors have included a wide range of residents, Romeo said.
“There are so many amazing stories,” she said. “We helped a woman with breast cancer stay in her home while going through treatment because she had no one to take care of her. We’ve helped students get through college because their families didn’t have the financial means to support them.
“People have to realize that all’s it takes is one devastating event to occur that can totally shake your world. We feel so fortunate we have a way to help some of these people who have endured these hardships.”
Romeo said all of the organization’s benefactors are thoroughly screened before they are approved for financial assistance.
Spreading kindness — one card at a time
She said the next goal on her list is to spread a program that promotes the distribution of kindness cards — hand-written notes with a gift card attached to brighten the lives of perfect strangers. Romeo has even started a Kindness Club at Northville’s Hillside Middle School that encourages students to distribute the cards to people they meet who may need an emotional lift.
“The other day my son ran into a gas station to get a slush and when he came back to the car he said, ‘The lady that works there is always so nice!’,” Romeo recounted. “I suggested he give her a kindness card. I could see through the front window when he gave her the card and her face just lit up! It’s such an amazing feeling to brighten someone’s day.”
To learn how to donate to MSL — or to participate in one of its upcoming events — visit its website here.
Contributions to Main Street League are tax deductible under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
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