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GTPulse: Traverse City Woman Teams Up With Local Businesses to Support Cherryland Humane Society

For the past few weeks, Charissa O’Maley and a team of local business owners have been amassing a collection of prizes from all of your favorite local shops in Traverse City. From restaurant gift cards to a private cruise, there’s something for everyone to get excited about and it’s all for a good cause. They’ve come together in the name of hosting a donation-based contest for Cherryland Humane Society, in hopes that all of those sweet fur babies can find their new forever homes.

It all began when Charissa and her husband started an Instagram account called DiscoverTC to showcase their favorite local businesses. Last year they left busy, fast-paced lives back downstate. With moving to Traverse City, they wanted to take time to slow down and show appreciation for the new place they call home.

Photo by: Charrisa O’Maley

Through exploring all of the different local places Charissa discovered TC’s beloved Cherryland Humane Society, and all the animals in it looking for a home. As an animal lover herself she knew she wanted to help CHS find homes for all of the cats and dogs.

Photo by: Charrisa O’Maley

“I absolutely love and adore animals and I’ve wanted to do something bigger for them for a while,” Charissa said.  “My husband and I had started our Instagram page to help inspire localism and community, and I was thinking about what we could do for the shelter. I was on their page and there was a picture of the cat, and the poor thing looked terrified. I thought, ‘Oh man, that cat’s not gonna get a home.’”

Charissa’s husband Aaron O’Maley does real estate photography and she asked him if they could go to the shelter and take pictures of the animals. 

“I reached out and told them my thoughts and what I wanted to do, and they were on board.”

The glamour shots that ensued are professional and adorable. She took to local Facebook groups and pages to post the portrait shots of the different potential pets, and they charmed the locals. Shiny-eyed, smiling, and downright adorable CHS dwellers started to get snatched up. The positive response drove her to get even more creative with how she can get more of them into new homes.

Photo by: Charrisa O’Maley

Charissa, Cherryland and West Bay Handmade have put together a fun contest that will support Cherryland. The event will run until March 5th and has a huge amount of prizes to give out. The prizes have been divided into five prize lots. Each lot is represented by a jar of kibble, and to enter to win the prize lot you want, all you have to do is guess how many kibbles are in that jar. Guesses are $5 each and all proceeds will be donated to Cherryland. Whoever is closest to the correct number of kibble without going over will win that prize lot!

“As far as our prizes go, we have over 60 different local shops and vendors that have given us items. I don’t even know where to begin there’s so much. We have everything up to a cruise!”

Photo by: Charrisa O’Maley

Participants can enter the contest as many times as they would like. Entries can be done in person at West Bay Handmade in downtown Traverse City, and they also can be done through their website. The website will have pictures of the jars, along with pictures of all the fabulous prizes too. Here’s what you have to get excited about:


Private Cruise – 2 Brother’s Sailing 

2 Night Stay – Bayshore Resort

$100 Gift Card – West Bay Handmade

$100 Gift Card – Common Good Bakery

$100 Gift Card – Rose & Fern

$50 Gift Card – The Cook’s House

$50 Gift Card – Firefly

$25 Gift Card – Slabtown Cookies

$20 Gift Card – Cuppa Joe

$20 Gift Card – High Five Threads

$10 Gift Card – Relish

Handmade Candle – Ambush  Apothecary

Traverse City Tote – West Bay Handmade

Handmade Soap “Traverse City Beaches” – Lake Soap

“My Heart Belongs in Michigan” print – North House Creative Co

Michigan Sticker Pack – High Five Threads


Overall, they ended up with a little over $4000 worth of prizes, as well as a large donation of $1300 collected and donated directly to CHS by Way Of Knife. Charissa couldn’t be more pleased, and the animals are pretty excited too. They’ll be helping announce the winners come March 5th. The contest opens today!

“My cats on a daily basis bring me so much joy and comfort, and especially during the pandemic. It’s always a good time to adopt, but right now there’s never been a better time.”

Stay updated through the , the DiscoverTC Instagram page, and .


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