GROSSE POINTE - In 2008, after many years of school, travel and business together, Grosse Pointers Sonny Geha and David Watson wanted to make a difference in their community.
Having such diverse backgrounds and interests, they had a difficult time deciding on a cause or an area to focus their resources. Instead of narrowing it down to just one idea, they decided to devote themselves to a few of their favorite local charities and The Helping Hands Society was born.
The idea for their first fundraiser was sparked when Geha and Watson should have been studying for finals during their junior year at Michigan State University and procrastination led to the creation of the first annual Kris Kringle Candy Cane Cocktail Party.
It initially began as just a party, and then after some thinking and planning, quickly became a fundraiser for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Geha and Watson put together some cost spreadsheets and started a Facebook group and voila! They created a successful fundraiser that raised a couple hundred dollars that year.
Since then, the Kringle Party has grown, raising close to $20,000 in its first four years. This year alone, however, Geha and Watson hope to raise close to $20,000.
This year's Kringle Party will be held on Dec. 15 at 7 p.m. at the Grosse Pointe War Memorial. Space is limited to the first 250 people and the event is usually a sell-out. The evening includes live music, light hors d’oeuvres and an open bar. Tickets can be purchased through the event's website.
Some of the items anticipated for the silent auction include:
- Jewelry from Ahee
- Apparel from Carhartt
- Tigers/Lions/Pistons/Red Wings tickets
- Extravagant gift baskets
- Skydiving trip
- Weekend getaway at Boyne Mountain
- A plethora of gift cards to local restaurants
- Trips to exotic places
Thus far, The Helping Hands Society has worked with the Make-A-Wish Foundation and Feeding America; and they hope to soon spend time working with the Wounded Warrior Project as well as Detroit Dog Rescue.
Other "Helping Hands" efforts include a video Geha and Watson made in 2009, that spotlighted the Mid-Michigan Food Bank. It won a contest that resulted in Tyson Foods donating 30,000 pounds of chicken and beef to the food bank, providing enough food for their entire network of needy families to eat protein-based dinners for weeks following.