Fashion show and Fingers chicken dinner fund raisers planned to benefit Kelly’s Place

September is a big month for Kelly’s Place, The CanDid House, thanks to local support and two major fund raising efforts – a Fall Fashion Show in downtown Rockford on September 18th and a nostalgic journey back to Fingers Restaurant charity dinner at Beacon Hill at Eastgate in Grand Rapids on September 22nd.

Building Kelly’s Place, a residential facility for younger adults with physical disabilities, is the dream of two local women, Doreen Rademacher and Kelly Finger-McNeela, who recently released a book telling McNeela’s inspiring life story. I Can & I Did describes McNeela’s courageous pursuit of a full life despite battling multiple sclerosis from the age of 15. The two women are collaborating with the Hope Network Foundation to make the dream a reality and would like to build in the Rockford area.

Fashion-showMeg Frantz, owner of Bow Dacious Designs in downtown Rockford was moved by the story and set out to help by planning a Fall Fashion Show under the pavilion in downtown Rockford for September 18th. “I have never done a fundraiser or a fashion show but I was so inspired by Kelly’s story, I felt compelled to do something to help,” Frantz said. “This is such a worthy cause and I’m so grateful for the experience and assistance of John Vanaman at The Corner Bar and Linda Humbert and Judy Lieffers from Solutions Online.”

The event kicks off at 5 pm, with Rademacher and McNeela on hand for book signing. Munchies will be provided by the Corner Bar. There is a silent auction planned and the fashion show runs from 6 – 7 pm. Local models will showcase fall fashions and accessories from Bow Dacious with footwear provided by Wolverine Worldwide.  Catherine Behrendt, from Take 5 on WZZM TV 13, will emcee the event and shopping begins after the runway show. Bow Dacious will keep doors open until 10 pm, contributing 20% of all sales made that night and the next day to help raise the roof on Kelly’s Place.

Tickets for the Fashion Event are just $10 for seating and food inside the pavilion and go on sale Wednesday, September 4th at Bow Dacious Designs, 27 N. Main Street. Donations will be accepted for standing room only viewing outside of the pavilion.

Later that same week, Beacon Hill at Eastgate, located at 1919 Boston SE in Grand Rapids, will host a special charity dinner. Set for September 22nd, the event celebrates McNeela’s family legacy. She is the granddaughter of Paul and Helen Finger, founders of Fingers Restaurant, which was a landmark in Grand Rapids for many years.

Originally opened in 1946, Fingers Restaurant was famous for serving golden brown country style chicken prepared with a closely-guarded family recipe. Finger’s two sons, Ron and Terry, ran the restaurant for several years and will join Executive Chef, Tim England, at Beacon Hill to prepare many menu favorites, including liver pate’, coleslaw and biscuits.

“Our residents remember Fingers Restaurant so fondly – it’s where everyone went for a special dinner, and we were all touched by hearing Kelly’s story earlier this summer when she visited Beacon Hill,” said Patty Sprich, Resident Life Manager at Beacon Hill. “We really wanted to reach out and help with Kelly’s Place while also raising money for our own Mary & Martha Benevolent Care fund. What terrific teamwork! Kelly’s place is for younger adults with physical disabilities and our facility assists those that are older – a natural transition and a great opportunity to build synergy.”

The nostalgic charity dinner will run from 5 – 8 pm and includes a silent auction, Fingers Restaurant trivia and lots of local flavor with emcee, Tom Rademacher, of the Grand Rapids Press. The family theme continues with entertainment provided by Mary Rademacher and a special ensemble of talented musicians.

Tickets, $65 per person or $350 for a table of 6, will go on sale September 3rd at or by phone at 616-447-7523. Event proceeds will be shared between Kelly’s Place and Beacon Hill at Eastgate’s Mary & Martha Benevolent Care Fund.

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