HARRISON TOWNSHIP — The day before Benefit on the Bay was slated to celebrate its 10th anniversary back in 2003, the Midwest was literally left in the dark.
But that Aug. 14 massive power outage didn’t deter people from wanting to make a difference, and it didn’t hurt the cause: raising money for the Capuchin Soup Kitchen.
Lifelong Capuchin volunteer and Benefit on the Bay founder Michael Schodowski said an unprecedented 450 people showed up to that Aug. 15 celebration at MacRay Harbor in Harrison Township thanks to a generator and people taking a leap of faith that the event had not been canceled.
That was the first year that the Benefit was held at MacRay, and it’s a whole lot different now than when it was first launched 21 years ago.
Schodowski put together the very first fundraiser at Island Cove Marina — also in Harrison Township — in 1993 with beer, pizza and an AM/FM radio for musical entertainment. That inaugural event raised $1,400.
In 1999, Benefit on the Bay moved to Gino’s Surf, where it would stay for three years while continuing to grow in popularity, excitement and dollars raised.
Last year’s benefit raised $122,000, and the total raised for Capuchin Soup Kitchen since 1993 is $1.2 million. This money helps Capuchin friars and volunteers provide 2,000 meals per day at their Conner and Meldrum streets locations. Capuchin also distributed household items and operates a shower program, food pantry, children’s tutoring and art therapy programs.
“That’s why we sell out every year,” said Schodowski. “What makes it different is everything goes right to the cause. That’s why everyone (who attends) feels so good about it.”
And that’s why organizers like Schodowski, owner of Shelving, Inc. of Auburn Hills, encourages advance ticket purchases.
The 21st annual Benefit on the Bay will take place at 5:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 22, on both levels of MacRay Harbor located at 30675 North River Road in Harrison Township. Dinner will be served at 7:30 p.m.
Jay Towers from Fox 2 News and Fresh 100.3 will again serve as the event’s Master of Ceremonies. Two bands will play simultaneously: John Dickson and the C-Notes will feature jazz and easy listening music in the first floor lounge, and musical group The Key Suspects will also be on hand. Special musical guests will be the Capuchin Soup Kitchen Choir.
Steve Remias, president and CEO of MacRay Harbor, said he anticipates the late summer event and making his contributions to the cause.
“We look forward to it every year,” he said. “We’ve absolutely been thrilled to (host) the event and look forward to many more years of making it bigger and better.”
The event will include appetizers, dinner, dancing, beer, wine and desserts. There will be live auction items, plus a silent auction that will feature over 100 items. Services from Towers, the musical entertainment, as well as the auction items are donated.
The cost is $65 per person. To purchase tickets, call the Capuchin Soup Kitchen at (313) 579-2100, ext. 153 or ext. 170. For more information, go to www.BenefitOnTheBay.org,www.CSKDetroit.org, or www.TheCapuchins.org.
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