By Madeleine Fojtik
Fall has arrived in West Michigan, and again Generous Hands will host its 3rd Annual Fall Extravaganza on October 10 beginning at 6:00 p.m. at Lakeland Reformed Church, 10442 Sprinkle Rd., Vicksburg.
What is an extravaganza? According to Webster’s Dictionary, “a lavish show or event.”
It will indeed be an event. Generous Hands, Inc. (ghi) is a Vicksburg-based non-profit organization that provides backpacks filled with food on Fridays to children who would otherwise go hungry over the weekend.
The extravaganza is one of the annual fundraisers that helps to fund the ever-growing program.
Carrie Gloystein and her mother, Beth Boswell, donated her handmade quilts during last year’s Fall Extravaganza.
Again this year Chef Ryan Soule, owner and executive chef of the Oakwood Bistro, will prepare a gourmet dinner for the audience. Those at the event can enjoy delicious appetizers and have an opportunity to bid at the silent auction.
This past year over 280 school-aged children from Vicksburg, Colon, Parchment, and the Paramount Charter school have some of their nutritional needs met due to the outstanding efforts of 1162 volunteers (630 adult and 532 children), putting in over 1872 hours of volunteer work.
Despite all of these wonderful efforts throughout the year, the program continues to need funding. This year the Fall Extravaganza will once again feature Chef Ryan Soule, owner and executive chef of the Oakwood Bistro in Kalamazoo. He will provide a cooking demonstration that is sure to entice all who come to this event. In addition to the cooking demonstration, there is also an auction featuring hand-crafted jewelry, quilts, artisan-created blown glass, pottery, local services, cookbooks, several themed gift baskets, and much, much more. To view some of the items available go to www. generoushands.org.
This charitable event raises money to help Generous Hands purchase food from the Food Bank of South Central Michigan.
Sheri Louis, executive director of Generous Hands, stated, “This is our biggest community fundraiser and is a great way for us to bring awareness to the community of the need to feed our children. Test scores have been directly linked to nutrition and hunger so our organization is about trying to help those children in need succeed.”
Through the year, Generous Hands seeks funding through donations and grants to keep the shelves stocked so the children receive the Friday Packs every week. The Extravaganza is a very public way for the community to come and interact with the volunteers that drive the program, learn more about the program, and hopefully provide financial assistance to the program.
In 2012, the total food purchase expense was more than $27,000, with over $14,000 additional dollars for weekly Family Fare vouchers for milk, bread and eggs to each family. This fundraiser is very important to the organization so it can continue to provide the services that benefit so many.
Louis strongly suggests that tickets be purchased in advance. Seating is limited. Call 370-7965 for tickets or further information.