PHOENIX - Every week in Phoenix, Erin’s Angels works with a network of suppliers and volunteers to provide food on the weekends and on school breaks for elementary school children of the Phoenix Central School District who might otherwise go hungry. With that constant and growing demand, the need to collect food and financial donations is ongoing. But as summer comes on, while food must be distributed to avoid expiration, dollars to fund the fall start-up are also critically necessary. The good news is that it’s a need everyone can mobilize to meet, and one cause where every member of the community can help raise money and be part of supporting local kids in a meaningful way.
On Saturday, June 22, from about 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Erin’s Angels is sponsoring a local Cruise for Food fundraiser, bringing arms of the community together with a ride to fight hunger, in hopes of giving everyone that chance. The rain or shine event will be held from the American Legion Post 418 in Phoenix. The idea is to combine a series of activities that offer something for everyone. In addition to the motorcycle cruise, along with some classic cars in the pack, there will be vendors, music, shopping, raffles, a chicken barbecue and of course monetary donations will be accepted.
Founder Sheila Dion and the Erin’s Angels emerging army of volunteers have been working on this idea for several months. Always seeking donations to help sponsor the cost of food supplies needed, they “found so many places and people willing to help,” says Dion, “Piece by piece it came together.”
The Cruise for Food ride format is an event many bikers are familiar with. Riders register and then follow a particular pre-planned ride route together – showing solidarity and support for the cause. Juanita Bowersox says that she and her husband participate in events like this every year with their motorcycle club, and decided to foster those connections. “We reached out to the bike community for this, hoping for support. For people who like to ride, this is a great way to enjoy that bike and do something for others,” Bowersox says.
She encourages local motorcyclists to get on board with this one. For the $20 pre-registration riders gain entry in the ride, a chicken barbecue dinner, and a chance at a $100 gift card. Registration forms are available at www.erinsangels.com under events. Riders can also register the day of the event – registration starts at 10 a.m. with “kickstands up!” to leave on the ride at 11 a.m. She notes that it is a ‘rain or shine’ event and the choice to ride or not (without refund) is the responsibility of the rider. The ride route is about an hour long, bringing riders back to the American Legion by around noon where the other fun awaits.
Musical entertainment will be provided on site by “Gweemer” (Tim Allen), Jason Connolly and other friends, who have planned a unique blend of band and acoustic tunes. The chicken barbecue is being prepared by the American Legion’s Auxiliary at a cost of $10 per dinner and can be purchased by anyone, as everyone in Phoenix and the surrounding community is invited to attend the fundraising event. Proceeds from the dinner do go to the Auxiliary, “as they provide the food supplies and are letting us use their space,” says Dion.
It is the additional offerings at the Cruise for Food that will go a long way towards supporting Erin’s Angels as they prepare for the next school year in purchasing supplies necessary to feed an unknown need. While it’s not uncommon to receive food donations throughout the school year, there are often gaps in consistent food products donated. To balance out those needs and to ensure healthy choices, fortunately, Erin’s Angels has been able to work with the CNY Food Bank and with local grocery stores for product discounts. “However, that requires funding to cover,” Dion says.
Available to the public at the American Legion on June 22 will be the chicken barbecue dinner for $10, low cost Erin’s Angel’s promotional products, as well as a central place to peruse favorite products and vie for others through raffle chances. Vendors include Young Living, Lila Rose, Usborne Books, Tastefully Simple, LalaRoe, Paparazzi, Pampered Chef, Color Street, Tupperware, Avon and Thirty-One.
Vendor space is still available for a 10 x 10 space, at a donation price of $20 plus one vendor item for the raffles to benefit Erin’s Angels. To apply, those interested can visit www.erinsengels.com , click on Events and download a vendor application for submission. The form includes registration address, paypal and tax information. Links are also available to shop the various vendors online.
Dion says that through community item donations, they have put together 15 baskets for a basket raffle and expect that there will be approximately 60 items in total for a raffle. Donation sponsors include RFH’s Hideaway, Tops Markets, Wegman’s, and Destiny USA. Raffle donations have come in from Wonderworks, Chili’s, Duskee’s, Outback Steakhouse, Hampton Inn/Clay, Bombadil’s, Mimi’s Diner in Fulton and Cam’s Restaurant. All proceeds from the raffles benefit Erin’s Angels.
“It’s a great place to have a little fun and raise some money,” says Bowersox, which is exactly what seems to work best around Phoenix for causes on their service rise.
In fact, Dion points out, finding fun ways to raise money for Erin’s Angels can even become contagious. Most recently, high school students took notice and rose up in spirit for Erin’s Angels, setting up their ‘senior prank’ towards service with a kind-of (voluntary) “toll-booth” at the high school parking lot one morning.
“They collected $200 for Erin’s Angels!”, Dion says, with a little awe. She posted a picture online of a few of the class representatives, presenting the check – wanting them to know how much it means to a small town effort. “Thank you to the class of 2019 for collecting that “toll” from the teachers for their senior prank! Good luck in your future endeavors kids!”
Having so much appreciation for every dollar that comes in, it’s gratifying to learn that small acts on a single day can make a difference. At the Erin’s Angels Cruise for Food on June 22, anyone can step forward and help raise the funds needed by coming out to the American Legion or by riding to fight hunger. Whether onsite or online, financial donations are always welcome and go directly towards serving the children of Phoenix.