By Cindy M. Cranmer
Hundreds of people came out for a rocking good time at an area restaurant while helping fill Santa’s sleigh with thousands of toys for Toys for Tots.
“We filled four boxes in the first hour alone. There were easily 500 to 600 toys by 6 p.m.,” said Staff Sgt. Matt Duganier, of the Alpha Company 24th Marines – 25th Marine Regiment of Grand Rapids. “It’s a lot more than anticipated.”
Five bands and numerous people donated their time or services at the Rock for Tots, which took place on Sunday at the Muze. In addition, 10 percent of all food and drink sales from the event were donated to Toys for Tots.
“We’ll send a truck out to pick the toys up,” Duganier said. The toys will then be sent to the Grand Rapids, Rockford, Ionia, Belding and Woodland areas after going to a main center.
Duganier said the Marines donate their time and various members attend the more than two dozen events in the area to help collect donations for Toys for Tots.
“The attendance exceeded my expectations,” said Wendy Petersen, marketing director for The Muze and singer with Electrik Toyz. “I’m thankful to everyone who participated and made this event possible.”
Hundreds of dollars also were raised in cash donations. While an exact amount from the proceeds of the bar was not available, hundreds of people came during the course of the night eating and drinking to support Toys for Tots.
“This is just such a good cause,” said Robert Joseph Glass, who did face painting and sketches at the event. The face painting was free and the prices were lowered on the sketches to $20 with half going to Toys for Tots.
“I’ve known kids that have got nothing or the bare minimum in the past for Christmas so anything I can do to help kids have a good holiday makes it worth it,” Glass said.
Some people enjoyed bringing the kids to see their favorite bands, which normally they would not get to do when the bands are performing at different establishments. For the children, Santa attending the event was a huge attraction.