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Keweenaw Business Ball Raises $2,465 for Local Food Pantry

HOUGHTON, Michigan (January 16, 2017) – Last month, the Keweenaw Chamber of Commerce, Keweenaw Young Professionals (KYP), and Keweenaw Economic Development Alliance (KEDA) came together at the Continental Fire Company to host the Keweenaw Business Ball, a collaborative holiday celebration.

This seasonal gathering offered more than good cheer, great food and networking – the community came together to raise funds to help feed our hungry neighbors and provide local scholarships.

Brian Donnelly, Board President for the Keweenaw Chamber of Commerce explained, “We wanted to bring together our local business and community by hosting an event where they can relax, network and still help out two great causes; a local food pantry and the high school skilled trades scholarship program.”

In addition to the funds donated through event admission, River Valley Bank generously donated $2,000 towards the skilled trades scholarships and $2,000 to the Western Upper Peninsula Food Bank.

The funds raised for the food pantry totaled $2,465 and will be donated to the Community Action Agency (Western UP Food Bank) during a check presentation on Wednesday, January 18th at 4:00 pm. These generous donations will allow the food pantry to purchase about 30,800 pounds of food for distribution locally.

“Despite the snow storm that night, many people ventured out to show their support. I think that says a lot about our community. When we work together we can accomplish great things!” said Devin Leonarduzzi, President of Keweenaw Young Professionals.

As part of event, KEDA hosted its annual silent auction to raise funds for the skilled trades scholarship program.The KEDA scholarship program awards a $500 scholarship to a graduating senior in each of the nine area school district that is pursuing a certificate, one year or two year degree in the skilled trades.

“As a result of the donated auction items from our region’s businesses and the generous bids by the attendees, we exceeded our goal of raising half of the funds needed for the program,” said Jeff Ratcliffe, Executive Director of KEDA.

“In addition, River Valley Bank’s donation to the scholarship program helped us fund all nine scholarships. The generosity of our community is amazing.”

The BHK Community Action Agency was established in 1965, and is a locally operated, private nonprofit corporation designed to develop, administer and carry out programs that have a direct impact on the causes and instances of poverty. Part of their mission is helping people to help themselves.

The food bank is able to purchase food at $.08 a pound, so it is more beneficial for them to purchase food items directly rather than processing donated food items. Currently, the food Pantry Program has 1,328 eligible households with 2,341 members enrolled and they serve around 500 households each time they host a pick up. You can find more information at www.mcaaa.org.

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