FARGO — As the warm air brings a welcomed sign of spring, a group of creatives in the community are coming together to revamp an old holiday and encourage others to spread neighborly love while supporting local, no matter the distance.

The idea for an all-in-one gift-giving website called Bring Back May Day all started as a late-night thought from co-creator Kensie Wallner as she sat up in bed looking for any sense of optimism in her ghost town of a calendar.

“It’s about something little that will make a huge difference,” Wallner says about her initial idea.

By curating a list of discounts on fun baskets from local crafters and links to businesses offering gift cards, along with project ideas for kids, Bring Back May Day aims to empower people across the community to support local while spreading joy.

This "support local art" bag is free with a donation of $25 or more to The Arts Partnership during the "April Showers Bring May Flowers" campaign. Special to The Forum
This "support local art" bag is free with a donation of $25 or more to The Arts Partnership during the "April Showers Bring May Flowers" campaign. Special to The Forum

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Reminiscent of a childhood memory, stories of people dropping off care packages for family and friends have popped up everywhere in the news and online. To help boost the potential impact of these little acts of kindness, Wallner turned to graphic designer Jeff Knight.

“The more I kept thinking about it, the more it (May Day) felt bigger this year,” says Knight, who designed the logo and website. “It made me think if we can collaborate around one day, that might have more of an impact.”

Baker Garden and Gift is offering spring blooming containers from $11.99 to $17.99 including an arraignment of pansies, alyssum and violas. Special to The Forum
Baker Garden and Gift is offering spring blooming containers from $11.99 to $17.99 including an arraignment of pansies, alyssum and violas. Special to The Forum

Celebrating together

A pair of teachers at Liberty Middle School in West Fargo are getting in the giving spirit to connect with their students, too. Using the Bring Back May Day site, Holly Erickson and Eric Dobervich plan to send out baskets from Unglued in downtown Fargo to their 52 students.

“Just knowing that each kid at one point will have a smile on their face and still feel the love they felt in our classroom, that is what's going to fill my heart,” Erickson says.

Students from Liberty Middle School get in the giving spirit by sending care packages and letters to friends and family as part of their Thankful Thursday class project. Special to The Forum
Students from Liberty Middle School get in the giving spirit by sending care packages and letters to friends and family as part of their Thankful Thursday class project. Special to The Forum

The project is part of an ongoing idea to boost classroom morale called Thankful Thursday, where students write letters and come up with fun ways to positively impact someone’s day. Practicing generosity at an early age, the students have done everything from send care packages to friends to providing pizza to Sanford Health's emergency rescue team.

“As teachers, we try to figure out how to be creative and as authentic and normal for them as we can,” Dovervich says.

Bring Back May Day was also intended as a way to show appreciation to people who are stepping up during the COVID-19 crisis to provide essential services.

“I’ve actually reconnected with a friend of mine who’s a hospice nurse and she’s obviously been doing a lot of stuff to deal with the virus,” Wallner says about her efforts to reconnect amid social distancing. “It’s been nice to keep in touch and make sure she’s staying healthy and OK.”

Available exclusively on May Day, Milk Made will sell a mini platter including three cheeses, one meat, fruit and jam for just $15. Special to The Forum
Available exclusively on May Day, Milk Made will sell a mini platter including three cheeses, one meat, fruit and jam for just $15. Special to The Forum

Beyond the friendly childhood memories of making baskets, the first day in May also marks International Workers’ Day, a celebration of laborers and the working class.

“I thought that tied in nicely with the essential workers who are basically risking their lives to stock grocery shelves and working in hospitals for us,” Wallner says.

Visit bringbackmayday.com to find deals on bundles like arts and crafts, treats, flowers, books, games and more. Options for pickup, shipment and delivery are determined by each individual business.

While some deals are exclusively available on May 1, the site will be up throughout the month.

A May Day basket from Baker Garden & Gift. Special to The Forum
A May Day basket from Baker Garden & Gift. Special to The Forum

This article is part of a content partnership with The Arts Partnership, a nonprofit organization cultivating the arts in Fargo, Moorhead and West Fargo. For more information, visit http://theartspartnership.net.