Rapid River businesses help needy

Haley Gustafson | Daily Press Chris Proehl places a star on top of the Rapid River community Christmas tree on Sunday. The tree, located just off US-2 in Rapid River, was donated by a Rapid River resident. A tree lighting ceremony will take place at 5 p.m. on Saturday after the Christmas in Rapid River event.

RAPID RIVER — The Rapid River Business Association (RRBA) is helping families in need this Christmas season.

The association, which was formed last year, consists of Rapid River businesses, such as Jack’s Restaurant, Rapid River Hardware, TKL Repair and Towing, Rapid River Lodge, and the Rapid River Dairy Flo. The association is not limited to just businesses; anyone who pays dues can become a member of the RRBA. The association meets every second and fourth Tuesday of each month at 6 p.m. at either Jack’s or the Rapid River Pub.

For the second year, the RRBA is sponsoring an “Angel Tree” at the Rapid River branch of Baybank.

Tags are placed on the tree with items that needy children in Rapid River want as gifts for Christmas. People then can pick a tag, purchase the items on the list, and donate them for the families. A full list of instructions on how to donate and a description of each child (gender and age) are on the back of each tag, explained RRBA member Denise Nicholson.

According to Nicholson, she and other RRBA members started the tree last year to try to help those who are less fortunate during the holiday season and add to the annual Christmas activities in Rapid River. In addition to the angel tree, the business association also sponsors a community Christmas tree. The tree, which was donated by a Rapid River resident, was placed and decorated at the intersection by the blinking traffic light just off of US-2 in Rapid River Sunday.

The response from the first angel tree was overwhelming, noted Nicholson, adding this year the association is helping four families in need. From the four families, a total of 13 children will be assisted this holiday season.

“Every single parent has been overwhelmed with gratitude,” said Nicholson.

Nicholson explained she works with teachers and the school nurse at Rapid River Area Public School to get a list of students and their families who may need extra help this Christmas.

On top of helping children, Nicholson said there are also tags to “help your neighbor.” Gifts can range from gas cards to gift cards, noted Nicholson, and they will be given to adults who may need an extra boost this Christmas.

“People really do want to help their neighbor,” said Nicholson. “I think it brings the community together.”

Those interested in donating to the cause can pick up a tag at Baybank in Rapid River and drop off their wrapped gifts at either Jack’s Restaurant or Rapid River Hardware store, both located on Main Street in Rapid River.

Residents can bring gifts to the above locations until Dec. 19.