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Shelby Township

February 5, 2014

Kiwanis’ charity auction benefits local community

By Sarah Wojcik
C & G Staff Writer

» click to enlarge «
Kelly Parise, left; Cody Hatch, 16, of Burton, center; and Rebekah Hildreth, right, pose for a photo on the wheelchair ramp that the Shelby-Utica Kiwanis Club built for Hatch. Parise is the lieutenant governor of the Michigan District of Kiwanis Division 3, while Hildreth is the Kiwanis state of Michigan governor-elect. Hatch fell on his head during gym class and became paralyzed, but he has been making progress and recently began walking, Parise said.

SHELBY TOWNSHIP — Organizers are striving to make what used to be the “event of Shelby Township” come back with a bang this year.

The 24th annual Shelby-Utica Kiwanis Club’s charity auction will take place from 6 p.m.-midnight Feb. 7 at the Palazzo Grande in Shelby Township, 54660 Van Dyke Ave., and feature a live and silent auction.

Tickets are $65 or $500 for a table of 10, and the event includes a luxurious dining experience, music by a DJ, silent auction starting at 6 p.m. and live auction at 8:30 p.m. Guests can enjoy an hors d’oeuvres and dinner buffet, a raw bar, a carving station, a pasta station, salads and veggies, a dessert table and a premium alcohol bar.

All of the proceeds from the auctions will benefit the local community.

“With this (event), realistically, our goal is $40,000. We’re barely covering costs with ticket sales because we want to get everyone back,” said Kelley Parise, the past president of the club. “Our items had gotten stale.”

Some of the new, revamped auction items include the opportunity to fly in a fighter plane for a day, a progressive Italian dining experience by limousine, out-of-state golf trips, a salmon-fishing trip, a hot air balloon ride, a signed Magic Johnson jersey and Detroit Red Wings tickets on the glass.

Last year, Parise said, the event raised $23,000, but this year, a new committee is taking over and the ticket sales have nearly doubled — from 240 to 420.

She said that in past years, the auction raised up to $50,000 for charity, and she asked the former chairperson of the event and 21-year club member Jim Maniaci to return to increase interest again.

Maniaci said he stepped back from organizing the auction for the last several years because he started a nonprofit with some friends called Helping Hands of Macomb, but he agreed to come back in partnership with his nonprofit and the auction.

“(The economy) probably hurt the auction over the last several years, but things are picking up,” he said. “Our goal this February auction is just to create and re-stir the interest in our auction, and to just blow people away with the event so they want to come back.”

He added that the Shelby-Utica Kiwanis Club would also host another auction in December to help children and special needs families with Christmas needs.

In the last year, the Shelby-Utica Kiwanis Club built eight wheelchair ramps, sponsored its annual bike rodeo, packaged more than 100,000 meals for Kids Against Hunger, worked with Kids on the Go and supported other organizations, such as Friend of Foster Kids, Turning Point and Birthright of Macomb County.

“It’s so awesome (helping people in the community),” Parise said. “I love hearing the stories, even from the seniors in the communities, but mostly from the kids we help with the wheelchair ramps.”

For more information or reservations, call Les Gilbert at (586) 731-7450.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Sarah Wojcik at swojcik@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1029.