Volunteers of America makes donation to MSU

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — A thrift store found selling “counterfeit” Spartan Strong t-shirts late last month, has made a donation to Michigan State University.

“We are very appreciative of the team at Volunteers of America in Lansing who quickly addressed the fraudulent merchandise that was sent to their store,” says Emily Guerrant, MSU vice president and spokesperson. “They took the situation seriously and even made a thoughtful donation to MSU from the proceeds of the unlicensed t-shirts.”

The t-shirts and phrase “Spartan Strong,” were introduced in the wake of the February 13, 2023, mass shooting on campus that left three dead and five injured. T-shirts with the phrase were licensed by the university and sold to raise money to provide support for the victims and their families, as well as the Spartan community.

In fact, days after the fund was announced, the Attorney General and MSU officials warned consumers to be wary of counterfeit items.

6 News discovered the shirts on sale at the Delta Township location of Volunteers of America in late January. Officials at VOA immediately removed the shirts from their sales floor after being contacted by 6 News.

VOA accepts items as donations and resells them through their thrift stores.

Officials from the nonprofit did not respond to requests for comment.

The fund raised nearly $2 million. Last month, MSU announced how the money would be distributed.

As 6 News reported, here’s how the cash in the Fund will be spent:

  • $1 million has been committed to assisting those who were physically injured in the shooting.

  • $300,000 will be used to create a campus memorial

  • $200,000 will be used to support a healing and resilience program

  • $500,000 will be used to reimburse people impacted by the shooting for mental health care costs.

The Spartan Strong Fund is closed and no longer accepting or processing donations. Guerrant says the money from VOA will be put to good use, however.

“That money is going towards a fund that helps students who need financial support to cover education and unexpected expenses during crisis situations,” she tells 6 News. “This really is the essence of a community coming together.”

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