HOUGHTON, MI (November 1, 2017) – Mark your calendar and join us on Wednesday, December 6, 2017 for the third annual collaborative holiday celebration with a cause! This year, the Keweenaw Chamber of Commerce, Keweenaw Young Professionals (KYP), Keweenaw Economic Development Alliance (KEDA), and The Continental Fire Company are joining forces to host the Keweenaw Holiday Hoopla.
The reason for this seasonal gathering is more than just good cheer, tasty food, and networking, as it hopes to once again raise funds to help feed our hungry neighbors and provide local scholarships. All proceeds will be donated to the Baraga-Houghton-Keweenaw (BHK) Community Action Agency (CAA) Western UP Food Bank and a silent auction will raise funds for KEDA’s High School Skilled Trades Scholarship Program.
The event will be held on Wednesday, December 6th at the Continental Fire Company, 408 E Montezuma Avenue, beginning at 6:30 pm. Admission to the event is a suggested $30 donation and guests are encouraged to pre-register through the Keweenaw Chamber of Commerce website: www.keweenaw.org/events.
Over the past two years this event, previously known as the Keweenaw Business Ball, has raised almost $4,000 for the Food Bank. This has allowed the Food Bank to purchase over 48,000 pounds of food for distribution to local families.
“Our groups have come together to host a successful event for several years now, and this time around we wanted to add some new elements to fit with the fun atmosphere. Along with a new name, we’ll have a holiday photo booth and a 50/50 raffle with additional drawings to win mystery box prizes,” explains Devin Leonarduzzi, Board President of Keweenaw Young Professionals. “We’d also love to see our community raise even more funds to help out the local Food Bank and fund scholarships.”
Brian Donnelly, President of the Keweenaw Chamber of Commerce Board explains, “It’s fitting that this event brings together local businesses and the community by hosting an event where they can relax, network, and still help out two great causes. Our counties were created with collaboration and looking out for our neighbors, so it’s great we can benefit the Community Action Agency, a group that works to improve lives and reduce poverty in our area.”
The CAA 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. Many people don’t know that our local CAA does more than just operate a food pantry. They also offer assistance with other food programs such as monthly food boxes for seniors, emergency food, deliverable fuel, payment of past due metered bills, weatherization to improve homes through energy saving measures, income tax assistance, youth recreation and education, furnace and chimney cleaning and repair, in-home senior programs, a Loan Closet and more. Each year around this time, the food pantry finds itself short on funds and volunteers.
Currently, the food Pantry Program has around 1,221 eligible households with 2,170 members enrolled, which is a slight drop in numbers from last year. They continue to serve around 500 households each time they host a pick up and last year their total food distribution of all their programs through the three county area was 840,110 pounds of food.
Jerry Jackovac, former Director for the CAA, stated that what their organization needs most is additional funds. The food bank is currently able to purchase food at $.08 per pound, so it is more beneficial for them to purchase food items directly rather than processing donated food items.
Jerry has been working with the CAA for 49 years, and it is easy to see their whole staff shares his passion for helping the less fortunate who rely on CAA for leadership, compassion, and services.
Jerry also shared their unofficial “CAA Creed” which was developed from a creed featured in a Farmer’s Almanac in 1997: Do all the good that you can, in all the ways that you can, for all the people you can, in every place that you can, for all the times that you can, for ever and ever. You can find more information on the CAA at mcaaa.org.
Additionally, during the event KEDA will be hosting a silent auction including various products and services donated by local businesses. The silent auction raises approximately half of the funds needed to award a $500 scholarship to one graduating senior at each of the nine area high schools going into an industrial, construction or skilled service trade training program.
“Since 2013, KEDA has awarded 42 scholarships totaling $21,000. That wouldn’t be possible without all the businesses in Baraga, Houghton, and Keweenaw Counties that generously provide their support,” said Jeff Ratcliffe, Executive Director of KEDA. “When you see our community working together, you see positive results.” Students and parents are encouraged to contact their respective high school or KEDA for an application.
The Continental Fire Company has agreed to host this fundraiser for a third year and the event will feature appetizers prepared by Chef Mark Pittillo, their head chef as they began serving food this fall.
“We are delighted and proud to be a partner of the Keweenaw Holiday Hoopla event and support our community,” says Adam Yeoman from the Continental Fire Company. The event will be held in the upper level bar and hayloft, which is now a renovated restaurant called The Mining School and a cash bar will be available.
Guests are encouraged to pre-register through the Keweenaw Chamber of Commerce website: www.keweenaw.org/events.