Make a Difference for Feb. 17, 2021

Volunteer and donation opportunities.

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American Red Cross blood drives: To make an appointment or for more information, download the Red Cross blood donor app, visit , call 800-733-2767 or enable the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device. As a thank for helping to ensure a stable blood supply, those who donate this February will receive a $5 Gift Card via email, courtesy of Amazon. (Restrictions apply. Additional information and details are available at .)

  • 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. today, Feb. 17, YMCA at Essentia Wellness, 4289 Ugstad Road, Hermantown.

  • 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 18 and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, Feb. 19, Riverwood Healthcare Center, 200 Bunker Hill Drive, Aitkin.

  • 10 a.m. to 4 pm. Feb. 24, Shriners Event Center, 5152 Miller Trunk Highway.

  • Noon to 6 p.m. Feb. 25, St. Raphael Catholic Church, 5779 Seville Road.

  • 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Feb. 26, IRA Civic Center, 1401 Third Ave. N.W., Grand Rapids.

  • Noon to 6 p.m. March 11, LaQuinta Inn & Suites, 1805 Maple Grove Road.

Ayusa, a non-profit organizations that promote global learning and leadership through cultural exchange for high school students. Ayusa seeks families in Duluth, Iron Range, and surrounding areas to host High School International Exchange Students for the 2021 - 22 school year. Ayusa foreign exchange students come from more than 60 countries, are fully insured, bring their own spending money, and are proficient in English. A professionally trained community representative from Ayusa works with the host family and student for the entire program, supporting student and family needs.

Host families are in a great position to show international exchange students an especially authentic slice of American life, which is one reason we are actively looking for area host families. There is no “typical” American host family. Ayusa welcomes all interested families, with or without children, from both urban and rural communities. Host families provide three meals a day and a bedroom (either private or shared). All host families must pass a criminal background check and a home visit by an Ayusa representative.

Families interested in learning more about hosting an exchange student can visit or contact Daniel Miesle, Ayusa Community Representative, at or (218) 256–8020.

Great Lakes Aquarium Otter Slide, virtual outdoor fundraiser race, throughout February. Ski, snowshoe, fat tire bike or pull your kid on a sled — for glory or for fun! Registration is open and will continue throughout February with prizes awarded in March. Your route? Whatever local trail calls to you. Your race time? Whenever you feel the need. Registration is $30 per participant, with a discounted family-ski option available, and guarantees racers a race t-shirt. Participants can choose to register for fun and race at their own pace or in a timed event for a medal. Racers’ family and friends are also invited to participate from the comfort of their couches by making donations for their favorite racer. The more donations a racer collects for the aquarium, the more prizes they take home. Prizes include Great Lakes Aquarium swag, admission tickets to Great Lakes Aquarium, stuffed animals, Great Lakes Aquarium special event tickets for one year and a complimentary birthday party or event rental discount of equal value (up to $200). Prizes & medals will be available for socially-distanced curbside pickup after March 1 (exact dates and times to be determined). Registration is open at Please email for more information.


Union Gospel Mission uses cash donations to provide hot meals, warm clothing and hygiene kits to people in need. Meal hours:

  • Breakfast: Wednesday, 8:30-9 a.m.
  • Lunch: Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, noon-12:30 p.m.
  • Dinner: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, 4:15-5 p.m.
  • Mail donations to: 219 E. First St., Duluth, MN 55802. Call 218-722-1196 for more information or go to .

    St. Luke’s Foundation is asking for donations of children’s toys (no small pieces), crayons, coloring books, puzzles, books, games that can be played solo, small radios and phone chargers. All donated goods can be dropped off at St. Luke’s Foundation, 1000 E. First St., Suite 102, between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Call Meagan Avery, Development Associate, at 218-249-2543.

    AEOA's Meals on Wheels program is in need of volunteer drivers on Tuesdays and every other Friday. Delivery times begin between 9:30-10 a.m. with an approximate delivery time of 1 to 1 ½ hours. During the pandemic, this service has become more important than ever. Call Kirsten at 218-409-5991 to help.

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