Excitement builds as holiday event nears

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By Melanie Deeds
Legal News

After months of meetings and planning, reaching out and touching base, seeking support and appealing for donations, the 2021 version of the Macomb Bar Foundation's “Feed Those In Need” event is about to take place.

“The legal and business communities, plus a number of individuals who saw the flyer on social media, have really demonstrated their generosity,” said Steve Steinhardt, the attorney who came up with the idea in 2019 for a holiday meal with a guest list composed of seniors, veterans, the homeless — folks who otherwise might not be invited to, or able to attend, such a gathering.

“Many have offered financial support, in addition to their time and resources,” he said. “We are so pleased with the goodwill that has come to the forefront during this holiday season.”
‘Feed Those in Need’ is scheduled for Sunday, Dec. 19, from 1-5 p.m., at The Rec Bowl in downtown Mt. Clemens.

The inaugural event was also held at The Rec Bowl and it was a rousing success, with about 250 adults, youth and children gathering for a festive meal, almost everything donated by businesses and organizations in Macomb County.

Plans began almost immediately after that occasion for a repeat event with leaders of the Macomb Bar Association giving their blessing and voting to make the get-together an annual occurrence. For all of his work, Steinhardt was honored with a special service award.

Undeterred by the party-busting pandemic that hit early in 2020, Steinhardt and his crew — intent on doing something — put their heads together and changed course, ending up delivering hundreds of meals to the homeless at various shelters.

Due to the generosity of attorneys and businesses, a good bit of money was left over and $1,000 was given to Grace Episcopal Church in Mt. Clemens, known for its outreach work, food pantry and meals for those in need.

For 2021, a good deal of attention has been paid to helping those in need even after they’ve eaten and head out the door. This year, they’ll be given care packages loaded with essentials.

Laura Polizzi, a Macomb County attorney who has been involved with the holiday initiative since the beginning, said volunteers plan to assemble 300 care packages bulging with socks, gloves, scarves and hats along with toothbrushes, toothpaste, combs, feminine products, hand sanitizer and lip balms.

“We have many local attorneys and businesses donating money for the event,” she said.

As far as the meal goes, it’s turning out once again to be quite the feast with a menu featuring pizza and ham, coney dogs, cornbread, salad, cookies and other desserts.

Polizzi is bolstered by the support from the legal community in donating time as well as donated items and funding.

“We have so many volunteers reaching out from the community,” she said.

Two shifts of volunteers will be working as servers, food organizers and ushers as well as toiling as members of the cleanup crew.

As the event approaches, Steinhardt emphasizes that the effort is intensifying to get the word out.

Information is being distributed to churches in Mt. Clemens and nearby communities. Gas stations and other area businesses are posting flyers as well. Officials at various speciality courts such as veterans, sobriety and drug courts in the county are being contacted.

Additional funding is encouraged, Steinhardt said, and donations can be made in person on the day of the event or can be mailed afterwards to: The Macomb Bar Foundation, 40 N. Main St., Mount Clemens, MI 48043.

“We are happy to accept help from all people of good will,” Steinhardt emphasized.

Along with the care packages, the impact of the generosity expressed by so many to create a wonderful holiday meal will be felt even after the event, he said.

“Various donors have been so generous that we are confident we will have extra turkey dinners and other food to share,” Steinhardt said, noting that volunteers plan to deliver the leftovers to shelters located in areas that are farther away from Mt. Clemens.

Steinhardt and Polizzi are grateful for the enthusiasm and generosity of their colleagues, buoyed by the support of area businesses and excited to see everything come together for a huge, welcoming ‘Feed Those in Need’ holiday celebration.

There has been some support from Wayne and Oakland Counties, Steinhardt said, adding he was hopeful “to be able to duplicate this event in other counties in the next year or two.”
Steinhardt likely already has come up with ideas to make the 2022 event bigger and better.

His dream? “To help make an impact year round and help as many people as possible.”

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