Make a gift, make a difference on Match Day

MILWAUKEE -- Families throughout the country are still struggling as the economy continues its slow trudge upward. That's where area nonprofit organizations come into play, and Thursday was Milwaukee's first "Match Day," - a chance to nearly double your donations!

19 nonprofit organizations participated in Match Day. These organizations serve thousands of Milwaukee area families, and all of them are funded primarily by donations. "There are a lot of people who need housing, and a lot of people who are going hungry," Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said.

Thursday, contributions to these 19 nonprofits were nearly doubled. "These organizations are so important to the fabric of our community, and I think it's really important that people understand that so many of our neighbors really need these services," Ellen Gilligan, president and CEO of the Greater Milwaukee Foundation said.

The Greater Milwaukee Foundation's "Basic Needs Fund" is getting a big boost this year. $675,000 in corporate contributions will match private donations for the 19 participating nonprofit organizations, including Milwaukee's Hunger Task Force - FOX6 News' partner for Match Day.

"Hunger Task Force is going to spend that money to buy seeds and fertilizer and equipment for operations here at the farm. We're going to grow 375,000 pounds of fresh produce," Sherrie Tussler, executive director of the Hunger Task Force said.

2012 will be the first year that the Hunger Task Force will independently operate its farm and fish hatchery. "We're talking to people about planting a seed. If they plant a seed by making a contribution, we'll plant a seed and feed hungry people," Tussler said.

Reginald Griffin is just one of many who has benefited from Milwaukee area nonprofit organizations. Griffin spent more than a decade going to Repairers of the Breach homeless shelter. Now, he has his own apartment and is clean of drugs and alcohol - something he says others can accomplish, thanks to donations. "I came into the Breach broken, and I was basically homeless for over 25 years. I am grateful to be a part of this - just to know that they're helping other people such as myself," Griffin said.

Match Day kicked off early Thursday morning, March 8th at 5:00 a.m.

CLICK HERE to make a donation. The Match Day site is open until 11:00 p.m. March 8th.