Industries will host their third annual THE PARTY a fun-raiser, as they bill it, to benefit their Goodwill Inn Homeless Shelter program.
While Northern Michigan is perceived as an affluent part of the state and the region lacks many people
living on the streets, THE PARTY organizers point to the growing homeless community as an invisible reality of the area.
I am constantly educating my friends and clients, said organizer and hair salon owner Heidi Hallett-Treece. There are several misconceptions and myths in our community about who is homeless and why people are homeless. So often, first-time volunteers to the shelter are shocked that families with small children and even babies, in our community with so much wealth, find themselves homeless.
Proceeds from the event will benefit incidental items and expenses that are needed for the new multi-million dollar Goodwill Homeless Shelter scheduled to open November 19.
We are not raising money for the building cost. They have a capital campaign for that, said Hallett-Treece. As one member on our committee said, this is about toothpaste and toilet paper. It is about food or doctor bills. Those everyday expenses that most of us take for granted.
Last year‘s event raised $28,000 and had about 250 attendees. This years party will take place at the hanger at Harbor Air and event organizers hope that more people will attend as space is plentiful and the event is priced right.
One thing we wanted to do was keep this affordable. So many fundraisers are out of reach for so many that live here. You pay $150 a ticket and then you are expected to buy at the auction. Add in a cash bar and a babysitter and the fact that there are fundraisers going on all the time it makes it difficult, said Hallet-Treece. Last year we received so many comments from participants that it was so nice to have a cross-section of the community represented in both age and socio-economic backgrounds.
Despite the $30 ticket price organizers say that participants have been pleased with the high-scale atmosphere of the event.
First, this is a casual affair. People come dressed comfortable even in jeans, said Hallet-Treece. The food is exquisite. It is from Grandview Catering and it is served butler-style so that adds some class to the event. It is a cocktail environment, not a sit-down, so people are able to socialize and move around. Plus we have a great dance band in Due North.
Hallett-Treece became involved with Goodwill several years ago after answering a newspaper ad asking for volunteers.
I felt blessed and I think lot of people in our community I wanted to give back, said Hallett-Treece. As I looked around I saw organizations like the Womens Resource Center and Father Fred with large voices in the community and a lot of support. So when I saw the ad for Goodwill I said to myself, I dont hear much about them, and I was certainly unaware at the time that we had an issue with people being homeless.
A common question Hallett-Treece gets from friends and others is, arent these people taking advantage of the system, just looking for a handout?
Sure, you always have people looking to take advantage of the system. In fact, there are those that are well off taking advantage of the system. But my faith tells me that I am not to be the judge of that. God calls on me and I believe all of us to help those in need and we have a lot of people in this community that are in need, said Hallett-Treece. So I give, others give, and we dont ask questions or place judgments on those that we are helping. If they are using the system then there is a higher power they will answer too. I encourage anyone to volunteer at the shelter and hear the stories of those that have fallen victim to being homeless. It is not a picnic.
She points to several myths and misconceptions of the homeless such as they are there by their own doing.
Every story is different but in so many cases it has to do with the high cost of housing here. People cant make their rent and pay all of their bills, said Hallett-Treece. In so many cases these are families with young children where a job has been lost and they dont have family and friends to turn to. I have yet to meet anyone who wants to be homeless.
When questioned as to why the homeless need a modern, state-of-the-art facility, the answer for Hallett-Treece is simple.
Dignity, said Hallett-Treece. Everyone deserves dignity and the current facility does not promote a sense of self-worth. Those that come to us for help are down on their luck and need a boost and a lift. The new facility will be a start for those in need.
THE PARTY is Saturday, October 7 from 7 pm to 11 pm at the Harbor Air Hangar, 1150 Airport Access, TC. Tickets are $30 and may be purchased at Floor Covering Brokers, Instant Framer, Pure Essence Salon and Goodwill or by calling 231-995-7701. To learn more about the new Goodwill Homeless Shelter visit www.goodwillnmi.org.