Charities benefit from cruise fun

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published August 21, 2013

ST. CLAIR SHORES — Along with a chance to see classic vehicles, muscle cars and more, the 2013 Kiwanis Harper Charity Cruise is — as its name suggests — a great way to help those in need in and around St. Clair Shores.

“All the donations go to charity,” explained Dr. Carl Papa, a member of the Shorewood Kiwanis Board and the Lt. Governor for Michigan Kiwanis Division 1. “All that money goes back into the community.”

Papa said they can never predict the amount of money they will raise each year from the cruise — with weather and the cost of police patrols varying each time — but they hope to raise about $28,000, after expenses, for the charities supported by the cruise. This year’s cruise is scheduled for 5-9 p.m. Aug. 28 on Harper Avenue.

This year, the participating organizations are Wigs 4 Kids and Tree of Hope of St. Clair Shores, the Lions Club, CARE of Southeastern Michigan in Fraser, the Macomb Chamber Music Society, the St. Clair Shores Cultural Committee and Shorewood Kiwanis.

The charity partners participate in the cruise by providing volunteers who collect donations along the route and sell cruise T-shirts to help raise money.

Papa said Shorewood Kiwanis gives back to children in the community in several ways.

“First of all, we hand out dictionaries to every third-grader in St. Clair Shores and Harper Woods, which is huge,” he said. “No. 2, we’re the only service club that donates to the St. Clair Shores Library, and we give them a couple thousand a year. We’re the only service club that gives diapers and cribs to the Health Department.

“When they give the people the diapers, it gets the Health Department a front door, and then they can make sure these people are getting proper post-partum care — make sure the kids are going to get vaccinated properly.”

Shorewood Kiwanis also gives out $8,000 worth of scholarships to students in the city each year, sends high school students to leadership programs and donates to help combat tetanus in underdeveloped countries.

“That’s kind of where the money goes,” said Papa, a Roseville dentist.

At CARE, they appreciate that Kiwanis focuses on helping children.

“We have programs that help youth that are coping with a loved one’s substance abuse … and also for (youth) that are coping with substance abuse, themselves,” said Meghan Kindsvater, fund development manager for CARE of Southeastern Michigan.

Located in Fraser with an office in Grosse Pointe Woods, Kindsvater said CARE assists individuals and families coping with substance abuse and mental health concerns. Anyone who is uninsured or underinsured and seeking treatment gets help from the organization, she said.

“Being a part of the cruise, it’s like one day and we get about 25 volunteers to come down and help us sell T-shirts. We just have to get some people involved and hang out,” she said.

In return, she said, the group gets donations and a chance to get the organization more exposure.

“It’s just helpful to support our family-focused programs,” she said. “CARE is thankful for the opportunity and our partnership with the Shorewood Kiwanis.

“It just helps us help more people in the community.”