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Judge Smolenski rallies support for West Michigan's hungry

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Feeding America West Michigan hosts luncheon to fight hunger with Judge Sara Smolenski as keynote speaker.
Underwriting support from:

Summer Fundraising Luncheon

12:00-1:15 p.m.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


The Goei Center

818 Butterworth Street SW

Grand Rapids, MI 49504


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Judge Sara Smolenski, a 22-year veteran of the 63rd District Court, is encouraging Grand Rapids to fight hunger.

Judge Sara Smolenski, a 22-year veteran of the 63rd District Court, is encouraging Grand Rapids to fight hunger. /Raymond D. Kopen

West Michigan hunger hasn’t gone away. In fact, year to date, Feeding America West Michigan Food Bank has distributed 14 percent more food this year than it did in 2012.

To meet the growing demand for its services, Feeding America West Michigan is hosting its first Summer Fundraising Luncheon at The Goei Center on June 4. All proceeds from the event will be used to fund the Food Bank’s hunger-relief efforts in West Michigan and the Upper Peninsula, where the organization feeds 100,000 households each year.

Judge Sara Smolenski, an advocate for Grand Rapids-area nonprofits including the Student Advancement Foundation and the YWCA, will deliver the keynote speech.

With her 22-year tenure on the 63rd District Court and her reputation for entertaining and thought-provoking stories, Smolenski has already helped to fill more than 200 seats at the luncheon. Space for 60 guests is still available and may be reserved on Feeding America West Michigan’s website through Friday, May 24. The cost to attend is $25.

“Everyone who comes to the luncheon and who gives will be helping to solve the problem of hunger in our community,” said Ken Estelle, chief executive officer of Feeding America West Michigan. “The sheer number of people in need is enormous, but hunger is ultimately a very personal struggle. Every food insecure family is forced to make sacrifices, going without meals or medication, to get by. Our luncheon is meant to show that everyone can do something to address this problem.”

In addition to Judge Smolenski’s keynote, the luncheon will feature an award presentation to honor a few of the Food Bank’s volunteers and supporters.

Thanks to the generosity of local businesses and benefactors, the cost of the luncheon has been completely underwritten, meaning that every dollar donated by attendees before and during the event will be channeled directly into food distribution.

Part of the Million Meal March, the Summer Fundraising Luncheon advances the Food Bank’s campaign to send an additional 1 million meals to families in need.

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