DETROIT — The Solanus Casey Center, a pillar of the Detroit community aimed at assisting the homeless and those in need, will be hosting its annual fundraiser on Saturday, June 24.
Called the “Nourishing the Soul Pasta Fellowship Dinner,” it will be the center’s only 2017 fundraiser. The event will consist of a Mass at St. Bonaventure Monastery Chapel at 4 p.m., followed by a spaghetti dinner at the Solanus Casey Center itself.
“This is the Solanus Casey Center’s only major fundraiser this year,” said Colleen Crane, the special events coordinator for Capuchin ministry. “We usually have a wine-tasting event at a third-party venue, but instead we are having this event in place of that this year. This year we wanted to increase the quality of the event and allow us to plan for 2018 with lots of time before the new year, and do so with a smaller, personal kind of event.”
Tickets for the fundraiser cost $40 per person and are available at www.solanuscaseycenter.org or by calling the Capuchin Events Department at (313) 579-2100, ext. 153.
“The Mass is at 4 p.m., and following the Mass there will be a pasta dinner in the Solanus Casey Atrium and Dining Area starting at 5:30 p.m,” said Crane. “There will be two raffles. One will be a fishbowl raffle as a door prize for five different prizes, like gift baskets, wine or passes to restaurants, and the other will be able to be entered into by buying tickets to win $2,500, $1,500 and $500.”
Money raised from the event will go toward building upkeep and personnel costs.
“The immediate thing is our heating and air conditioning system needs to be replaced,” said Father David Preuss, the director of the center. “As we speak, a 100,000-pound unit is being loaded onto the roof. There are a few other maintenance issues we are currently working on, and we are looking to afford two extra Capuchins to be brought onto the staff.”
The soup kitchen serves more than 1,700 meals a day, and the Solanus Casey Center provides a host of spiritual and material resources for those in need.
“It has a garden, a bakery that employs men who are out of prison, a drug and alcohol rehab house, a food and clothing pantry for families. It’s a very big operation across five different sites altogether,” said Preuss. “The center offers a place of prayer and reflection for those in need. We pray for healings, we have Mass, we have confession, we have people reflect on the Bible and upon other people who have followed the way of Jesus Christ. It is a place of learning, reflection and prayer.”
Preuss said that inviting the public in to see the center and become part of the process of helping others — and doing it with food, no less — is in keeping with the spirit of Father Solanus, an icon of the Detroit area for his piety, generosity and warmth, who recently was declared a blessed individual by the Roman Catholic Church.
“We would like to share the wonderful talent of the chefs at the soup kitchen,” Preuss laughed. “We have a time of fellowship and prayer, and this whole venture allows us to pay the bills and continue to keep our doors open. The spaghetti fundraiser is a continuation of Father Solanus, that there is a spiritual end of this and a service end as well that reaches out to the poor in a variety of ways.”
All those organizing the meal are hoping the public will look at the center and see how it is a worthy and necessary part of the Detroit community.
“We want to support our donors and engage and thank them for their support, as well as cultivate these relationships. Plus, this lets those who support us meet those who run the center,” said Crane. “The main message is we have been really looking to strive to have a place of healing, reconciliation and peace at the center. Without the help of many of our donors, we couldn’t do that. We rely on their financial, volunteer and spiritual help.”