Dinner, evening of music to raise funds Dinner, evening of music to raise funds Bruce Clarke has been battling Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia since 2003 and now will undergo a stem cell transplant that requires him to take up to a year off work while he is hospitalized. A family member is required to stay with him, so his wife Jean will also miss work. Although Clarke has insurance, the family will have little income while he is absent from his job. By turning in a donation coupon after eating dinner at the Plainfield Avenue Perkins on Tuesday, December 15, 15 percent of the total bill will go to a fund for the family. A night of food, music, dancing, hors d’oeuvres and raffle will be held January 23 at Life Center in Assumption Church in Belmont, will also raise money for the family. Organizers are currently seeking donations of raffle items. Clarke has undergone four rounds of chemotheraphy fighting leukemia, and the stem cell transplant with his brother as donor, is his next step to beat the disease. Hospital stay is expected to be a minimum of six months up to a year. Friends have organized these fundraisers to help Clarke and his family get by financially during this time. Clarke is a environmental/structural engineer with a firm here in Rockford. He is a coach for Wolverine baseball, a Cub Scout volunteer and a Michigan Tech alumni. His sons attended both Assumption Catholic School and Rockford Public Schools. His youngest son is currently at Rockford Freshman Center and the oldsest has graduated from Ferris State University. To participate in the dinner at Perkins, a coupon is required. They can be picked up at the Rockford Squire newspaper at 331 Northland Drive, Rockford. To get coupons from an organizer, to donate items or to find out more information, contact Dawn Taylor at (616) 365-2434 or Kathy Uzarski at (616) 361-9821.
by BETH ALTENA Buy a better product and put money into Rockford Public Schools sports programs. Downtown merchants have formed a new partnership with Rockford Sports Boosters. The program keeps the dollars spent for sports fundraising local, offers better products (those offered here in town) and might keep kids from selling door to door. Barb Stein of Great Northern Trading Company is one of the organizers of the partnership, called Community Unity. Three times a year shoppers will be able to present a Community Unity card when making a purchase with a participating merchant. That merchant will then donate ten percent of that sale to the Sports Boosters. Other non-profits are invited to participate in the future. Stein is a real expert in the retail field as a long-time Rockford merchant and chair-elect of the Michigan Retailers Association. She believes in the value of product and fair pricing local shops offer. The idea came when Polly VonEschen of Baskets in the Belfry was thinking about the items fundraising groups typically offer. Usually they are catalog items that you aren’t able to see or sample before purchase. She knows Rockford has better wares to offer, and supporting sports boosters from the stores should please parents, as well. “As parents, we buy the products ourselves because we don’t want our children going door-to-door, or we take it to work,” Stein said. The plan has the advantage of keeping local dollars within our community. “When you buy from a catalog, certainly none of that money stays local,” Stein said. Now more than ever consumers are realizing the importance of shopping locally. An article from ambia, the American Independent Business Alliance, discussed findings of the impact of money spent at local, independently-owned businesses compared to corporate chains. “Dollars spent at community-based merchants create a multiplier effect in the local economy, that, by most findings, typically amounts to three times that of a chain,” the article stated. A 2003 economic study showed that, of the money spent at a chain, $13 stayed in the community compared to $45 remaining when spent at a local shop or business. “It is really, really important now to shop locally, Stein said. It is also important to support sports programs in a […]