The Rapidian

1st Annual Steak & Burger Dinner raises $62,000 for Boys & Girls Clubs of GR

Underwriting support from:
A sponsor helping the Club members at his table cut up their delicious steak dinners.

A sponsor helping the Club members at his table cut up their delicious steak dinners. /Andrea Everhart

Over 240 sponsors/guests and 120 Club members enjoying dinner together while watching a presentation featuring our youth.

Over 240 sponsors/guests and 120 Club members enjoying dinner together while watching a presentation featuring our youth. /Andrea Everhart

Art Director, Stephanie Trompen, showcasing two young artists and their works.

Art Director, Stephanie Trompen, showcasing two young artists and their works. /Andrea Everhart

Forty tables surrounded by caring faces and eager minds, all there to help support each other. At this year’s First Annual Steak & Burger Dinner to benefit Boys & Girls Clubs of Grand Rapids Youth Commonwealth, the community stood together to make a difference, one which could be seen just by looking around the tables.

The event, sponsored by Meijer and the VanderWeide Family Foundation, raised about $62,000 to help support Boys & Girls Clubs in the area. Numerous local companies and foundations purchased tickets to enjoy the magical evening at the Steil Club with the Club members. Every table sat six sponsors and three Club members. This event allowed sponsors to personally get to know the children they were there to support.
“The Club members were all delightful and spoke frequently with us – telling us about themselves, their schools and interests,” said Gold sponsor Lynn Afendoulis of Universal Forest Products. It is a rare occasion when people get to see the effects of their contributions, but the Steak & Burger Dinner was an event that showed the benefits of integrating the two worlds.
Introducing speakers such as Duke Suwyn, Event Chair, and Pat Gunnin, Executive Director, 17-year-old Seidman Club member, Tronceye’ Rienstra, stepped up to act as emcee for the evening. He kept the program rolling, the audience laughing, and showed exactly what the Clubs are all about.
“Tronceye’ worked very hard to prepare for his role,” said Gunnin. “What is extra special is that he is similar to many other young men and women in our Clubs who just need the support and opportunities to succeed.”
The evening included steak dinners for the Club members and hamburgers for the sponsors, a slideshow showing photographs of the youth served by the Clubs, and two keynote speakers that delivered powerful messages to the youth and sponsors.
Tony Basile, President/Owner of Chicago Diversified Foods/Taco Bells of West Michigan, shared his own personal story of growth within the Boys & Girls Clubs system leaving the audience standing on their feet full of applause.
Bob VanderWeide, President/CEO of Orlando Magic and RDV Sports, reminded the audience of the importance of continuing in the face of adversary, and of course provided a Q&A session to answer any pressing Orlando Magic questions.
Sixteen lucky Club members went home with amazing raffle prizes donated by local companies including four iPod shuffles and $15 iTunes gift cards. However, none of the Club members went home empty-handed. Thanks to Toys for Tots, Orlando Magic, and Meijer, each of the 120 members in attendance left with a gift bag full of toys and Orlando Magic gear.
It was not only the youth that won exciting prizes, 14 determined Silent Auction bidders ended the evening with items such as second row Pistons tickets, second row Red Wings tickets, and a football signed by MSU Head Football Coach Mark Dantonio. The Silent Auction raised an additional $2760 for Boys & Girls Clubs.
The First Annual Steak & Burger Dinner triumphed in raising funds to provide many Grand Rapids youth with a positive place to hang out and engage in educational and recreational programming. Along with gaining monetary support, this event gained friends for the organization and Club members.
“For a first event, I thought it was lovely. It was smart to bring people into your beautiful facility,” Afendoulis said. “We believe in your organization and its mission. I believe others here will attend in the future.”
Boys & Girls Clubs of Grand Rapids Youth Commonwealth has already begun planning for the 2nd Annual Steak & Burger Dinner in 2010 and wishes to thank everyone who made this year’s event such a success!
If you are interested in helping plan next year’s dinner, please contact Sara Schneider at [email protected] or (616) 233-9370x108.
Article written by Sara Schneider
 
 
 

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