Businessman bringing back Benefit on the Bay

By: Julie Snyder | Mount Clemens - Clinton - Harrison Journal | Published August 16, 2015

HARRISON TOWNSHIP — Auburn Hills businessman Michael Schodowski is showing his entrepreneurial spirit by bringing back for the 22nd year the increasingly popular Benefit on the Bay, an event that has raised more than $1 million for the Capuchin Soup Kitchen on Aug. 21.

“This is the 22nd year for the Capuchin Soup Kitchen fundraiser,” said Schodowski.  “In 2013, we cleared the million-dollar mark. All the money goes to the soup kitchen, which relies nearly entirely on donations and events like ours.”

To date, Benefit on the Bay has raised more than $1.1 million.

“Although the economy has improved, there is a large population who is struggling. There are still far too many who have to depend heavily on the Capuchin Soup Kitchen. I don’t know what they would do if it weren’t for the Capuchin Soup Kitchen. It’s a blessing to the community.”

Schodowski, vice president of Shelving Inc., said this year’s event, taking place at MacRay Harbor in Harrison Township, will feature a major raffle, one that could win one lucky individual a restored, mint-condition 1953 Ford Customline.

Adrienne Lenhoff, who handles public relations for Capuchin and Benefit on the Bay, said Schodowski’s signature fundraiser annually attracts close to 650 attendees. To ensure that all proceeds go directly to serve those in need, Schodowski, with the support of his family-owned company, Shelving Inc., assists in underwriting the cost of the event. Additionally, Schodowski and his siblings have committed 10 percent of Shelving Inc.’s profits to be donated annually to Capuchin.

Founded in 1929, the Capuchin Soup Kitchen serves metro Detroit by providing food, clothing and counsel to those in need. Frequently preparing and serving 2,000 meals a day, the Capuchin Soup Kitchen also distributes household items and operates a shower program, food pantry, and children’s tutoring and art therapy programs. Its Earthworks Urban Farm produces vegetables for Detroit’s hungry and educates the community in regard to sustainable relationships between human beings and the Earth. The soup kitchen’s ROPE (Reaching Our Potential Everyday) ministry is designed to assist individuals re-entering society after bouts of incarceration or substance abuse. ROPE’s first social enterprise is the On the Rise Bakery.

In addition, the soup kitchen’s Jefferson House — a 12-bed residential treatment facility — assists indigent males seeking to reclaim their lives from addiction.

The Capuchin Soup Kitchen is a ministry of the Province of St. Joseph of the Capuchin Order, which is headquartered in Detroit and serves Capuchin ministries worldwide. It is funded primarily by donations, receiving no government assistance.

Benefit on the Bay is one of its major contributors.

Over the years, Benefit on the Bay has evolved into one of southeast Michigan’s most lively fundraising parties. The event includes appetizers, dinner, dancing, beer, wine and desserts. There will be live auction items, plus a silent auction will feature over 100 items. The event is still accepting auction items and has a limited number of sponsorship opportunities still available.

Schodowski said last year’s event raised more than $110,000.

Jay Towers, from Fox 2 News and Fresh 100.3 will serve as the event’s master of ceremonies, and two bands will play simultaneously: John Dickson & the C-Notes will feature jazz and easy listening music in the first-floor lounge, and The Key Suspects will also be on hand. Special musical guests include the Capuchin Soup Kitchen choir.

“I invite everyone to come and enjoy one of our area’s best parties, all while helping others,” Schodowski said. “We welcome everyone’s support (because) we want to help the Capuchin Soup Kitchen serve our community.”

Doors open at 5:30 p.m., and dinner will be served at 7:30 p.m.

MacRay Harbor is located at 30675 N. River Road.

The cost is $65 per person, and raffle tickets to win the classic car cost $10 each. Event tickets can be purchased online at www.benefitonthebay.org or by calling the Capuchin Soup Kitchen at (313) 579-2100, ext. 153 or ext. 170.