Blood drive, free activities highlight many merchants
by BETH ALTENA
“Remember when I said to expect this group to do big things in the community? This is one of those big things,” said Tony Griffin, owner of BC Pizza in Belmont, referring to his great expectations of the Belmont business community, which he believes is a unique and diverse group that will surprise many.
Participants in a first Heart of Belmont family festival and blood drive on Saturday, August 6 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. should prove his point. Activities take place on the closed street of Belmont Center Drive and in and around the nearby businesses.
Although Belmont seems a smallish business community, its members collectively are impressive, and over a dozen merchants and service providers will pitch in to make a day of fun for those who come out to see what Belmont has to offer. Participating stores, salons, restaurants, medical and dental care providers and others will have free giveaways to anyone who donates blood through the Michigan Blood bus. Michigan Blood, in turn, will donate $10 for each donor to local Boy Scout Troop #283. Participants can also be on the National Bone Marrow registry.
For those who choose to donate or not, the day has something for everyone, from free health assessments by Snap Fitness, to a car show located at Milestones Child Development Center and organized by Belmont Grocery. All car show participants receive a free small pizza from B.C. Pizza. Invited to sign up ahead of time or at the 10:45 registration are owners of old cars, classic cars, race cars, fast cars and just plain cool cars.
Trailside Treats, a seasonal gem tucked away a short jog from the White Pine Trail, will provide music with the live band Retrospect. A bounce house provided by the Blast Factory Eccentric Entertainment will keep the little ones hopping, and massages—free to donors or for a dollar a minute to others—will soothe adults.
Griffin said he admires all blood programs, but is really excited about Michigan Blood, because all donations stay in the area. He also explained that donating bone marrow also has the potential to save the life of another person, an amazing gift to be able to offer. Becoming registered to donate marrow is actually an expensive process at nearly $200, but Michigan Blood fundraisers cover most of that cost, making the process available at just $25. Griffin said the Belmont business community members all kicked in more cash, bringing the price to those who wish to sign up to just $20.
Griffin said every business involved in the Heart of Belmont is offering giveaways and special deals, and in addition to the Car Cruise car show, kids and adults can enjoy Sidewalk Picasso (chalk artistry), face painting, hair extensions, tinsel, feathers and more. Participants include B.C. Pizza, Stile Salon, the Amanda McGrail Salon, Tan Elite, Frey Family Dentistry, Boy Scouts Troop 283 (selling popcorn), Edward Jones, Chase’s Corner Kennel, Body Balance Massage, Milestones Child Development Center, the YMCA, Extreme Driving School, Belmont Grocery, Trailside Treats, the Plainfield Fire Department, Rockford D.A.R.E., Rockford Ambulance, the Kent County Sheriff’s Department, and Michigan Blood. Proceeds from any activities that have a charge will all be donated to Michigan Blood.
“Belmont is really its own community,” Griffin said. “We aren’t a suburb of Grand Rapids and we aren’t a suburb of Rockford. All the rooftops here realize it.”
He said visitors to the day’s events will likely be amazed to realize how much this community has to offer and that many business owners work from homes rather than storefronts, and provide valuable services. “I am really proud of how the businesses stepped up for this. It is going to be an amazing day and show what we are capable of. It will be a great first for our community.”