MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It’s been a rough year for so many, and on Thursday nonprofits and schools are getting some help. That’s because it’s Give to the Max Day in Minnesota.

With a few hours left to go, Give to the Max Day 2020 surpassed 2019’s record-breaking total of $21.6 million in donations, according to account executive Emma Mazour.

One of the unique opportunities this year is a car smash in Plymouth. People are literally paying money to pick up a baseball bat or sledgehammer and take some of the frustration out of 2020 and take it out on this car.

All of the proceeds will benefit Mini-Hops, a nonprofit that helps give the community access to to gymnastics and youth fitness activities. It’s just one of so many organizations in the Twin Cities that has had a rough year.

Donations are down for nonprofits. The animal rescue group Secondhand Hounds has been making a difference for cats and dogs for over a decade. They had to cancel their annual Bon Appetite gala, which is their biggest fundraiser, due to COVID-19.

“We’re really, really, really banking on people to donate to Give to the Max Day to kind of help make up that deficit. These babies are from our neonatal program, and their mom was actually hit by car … We were able to take them because of donations from the public. And these littler programs that we run wouldn’t be possible without the donations and the fundraising of today,” founder Rachel Mairose said.

Second Harvest Heartland is trying to fill the need for the one in eight Minnesotans, including one in five children, that are going hungry. CEO Allison O’Toole says they had to cancel in-person volunteer meal packaging due to COVID, but have still provided two million meals a week since March.

“We need the resources to keep going, and that’s why today is so, so important,” O’Toole said.

Still Kickin, which was established in 2015 after the co-founder lost her husband to cancer, has a goal to raise $50,000 for Give to the Max this year. Executive director Jesse Ross says the money will go to help people experiencing a range of hardships.

“People who have lost their jobs of course because of COVID, and so people just having a hard time paying the bill, or … [are struggling with] mental health issues, kind of all across the board,” Ross said.

Last year, $21.6 million was donated to more than 5,600 Minnesota nonprofits and schools.

Obviously this year many people have lost their jobs, and donating may not be possible, but if you’re able it’s a great way to help these organizations.

One other group seeking donations this year is the Minnesota Coalition on Government Information. They worked to insure public access in courtrooms, which includes the future trial of the four officers accused of killing George Floyd.

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