Helping those who help

HANCOCK – Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly provides several services for elderly residents of the Copper Country, including meals, transportation and simple company, but it takes money to do those things.

Mike Aten, LBFE director, said people can donate money to the organization either monthly, quarterly, annually or through the Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly Foundation, which began in 1990, but hasn’t been publicized well until now.

“We’re trying to build that,” he said.

Aten said he’s sending out letters to regular donors to let them know about the foundation in order to strengthen it.

“The foundation was developed to secure the future of Little Brothers (Friends of the Elderly),” he said.

Money from the foundation wasn’t touched during the Great Recession of 2008, 2009 and 2010, Aten said.

Money from the monthly donors goes to the operation of the LBFE programs, Aten said. Donors can have the money taken from their checking accounts, credit cards or they can give cash. Monthly donors get a letter informing them of the most recent LBFE efforts.

It’s also possible to donate to LBFE through wills and bequests, Aten said.

“It’s our policy that goes to the foundation,” he said.

Aten said all donations LBFE receive are important.

“Our (annual) budget’s about $500,000,” he said.

That annual budget recently increased from $375,000 because of an expansion of the organization’s services into Baraga and Ontonagon counties, Aten said.

Besides the monetary donations, Aten said LBFE receives about $70,000 in in-kind donations, including automobiles and fire wood for their program to supply wood to people who have wood-burning stoves or furnaces.

Aten said LBFE conducts various fundraisers throughout the year, including a Friendship Raffle taking place now with a possible grand prize of $30,000, a sweepstakes for a Ford Mustang and their Tootsie Pop sales to help with the fire wood program.

People also donate cars, trucks, motorcycles and boats to LBFE, Aten said. Some of the cars and trucks are used for LBFE programs, and the rest are sold for revenue.

There is also an account at the Keweenaw Community Foundation for LBFE, Aten said.

Donors can specify for which programs they would like their donations to go, Aten said.

People can donate to LBFE in someone else’s name with a memorial, also, Aten said.

“Those are real important,” he said.

To learn more about donating to Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly, cal Mike Aten at 482-6944.