Classic holiday fundraiser to benefit local food charities

By: Sarah Wojcik | Shelby - Utica News | Published November 3, 2015

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SHELBY TOWNSHIP — Combining live music and a passion for helping the less fortunate in the immediate area has driven the nonprofit group Rockin’ 4 Hunger since 2009.

From 6 to 11 p.m. Nov. 28, Rockin’ 4 Hunger will host its sixth and, organizers hope, biggest bash to date at the historic Packard Proving Grounds. Participants can experience a bygone era with vintage Packard automobiles, a traditional roast dinner and 1940s big band music.

Tickets cost $65 for the holiday dinner, drinks and entertainment. For $25 more, guests can participate in a VIP champagne reception at 5 p.m., which will include a tour of the Albert Kahn Lodge, priority event seating, a guided history presentation of the grounds and a commemorative Packard ornament.

Tickets only may be purchased in advance at www.rocki n4hunger.eventbrite.com. The event is for adults 18 years and older.

Michele Jones, president of Rockin’ 4 Hunger, said her idea to host live music fundraisers stemmed from a desire to stray from more traditional types of fundraisers, such as golf outings or garden walks, in an effort to appeal to a different group of people.

“I saw through volunteering at food pantries that they always have a great need,” Jones said. “I like music and live music, and Detroit has so many talented musicians.”

This year, instead of focusing on well-known food pantries like they have in years past, Jones said the money raised will benefit lesser-known groups that might not have the funds to launch large campaigns for donations.

She said Rockin’ 4 Hunger will honor representatives from a Vietnam veterans group out of Clinton Township that maintains a food pantry for veterans of all conflicts; a veterans homeless shelter; and a group in Detroit that hosts food and clothing drives.

“The rest of the recipients we want to give to are small — some are churches, some community centers feeding people tirelessly and quietly and helping pockets of people,” Jones said. “We feel we can spread the gifts that we are able to raise in smaller amounts to many places that will make an impact.”

Jones said she hopes to “raise the roof” at the event and attract as many people as possible to show those in need that they care.

“I think it’s a beautiful way for the community to come together to make a collective impact on other people’s lives,” she said. “It’s somebody they’ll never know, but they’re changing somebody’s life, and that’s a powerful thing.”

In the past, the group’s fundraisers have raised approximately $20,000 each, said Rockin’ 4 Hunger Vice President Joanne Bender, but they hope to outdo themselves this year.

Besides the dinner and music, Bender said there will be a silent auction.

“This event is different than events we did in the past — it’s got a lot more buzz,” she said. “It’s been fun to see ticket sales come in.”

In the past, the group has held events in Detroit, Pontiac and Fraser to benefit groups like Gleaners and Forgotten Harvest, Bender said.

“We hope to have 300 (people), which is the max capacity for the venue,” she said.

For more information about the event, visit www.rockin4hunger.com or call (586) 260-6576. The Packard Proving Grounds are located at 49965 Van Dyke Ave., between 22 Mile and 23 Mile roads.

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