Santa's First Responders Fundraiser for Annual Holiday Party for Kids

Santa's First Responders Fundraiser for Annual Holiday Party for Kids

MERIDIAN TOWNSHIP - Preparations are underway for the pig roast fundraiser event benefiting the annual Santa’s First Responders holiday party fund, formally known as the Mankowski Holiday Party for Kids. The event was created by retired Meridian Township Police Officer Gayelord Mankowski.

“I think we’re going to do 500 pounds of pork,” said Mankowski. “They’re big, giant pork sandwiches.”

From 10:00 am to 2:00 pm on Saturday, September 26th, Mankowski will be serving the sandwiches along with pickles, guacamole salad, chili relish and craft barbecue sauces at the Meridian Township Farmers' Market at the new Marketplace on the Green venue located on Central Park Drive near Studio C!. A sandwich and pickle will be a minimum $10 donation and the rest of the food items will be available for another donation price.

The pig roast is the only fundraiser for the annual holiday party, and this year it will be run slightly different due to COVID-19 safety precautions.

“They will be packaged to go, but the parks staff are going to put some socially distanced picnic tables,” added Mankowski. “One-hundred percent of the money is going to the party.”

This year, Mankowski also created a 501c at MSU Federal Credit Union for the annual party and it is now called Santa’s First Responders. This way it is also accessible to people who want to donate but can’t come to the event. The donations are mostly used to purchase toys for the kids that attend the Santa’s First Responders holiday party.

“Every kid that comes get a toy usually worth at least $100,” said Mankowski.

Last year’s party attendance was around 400 people. This year, the selected families will experience the party in a drive-thru style due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’re going to take a negative and try to polish it up and make it a positive.”

The upcoming party will mark the event's 32-year-anniversary. Mankowski is challenging the community, his friends and corporate companies to raise $1,000 before the pig roast event and has donated the first $200 towards that goal.

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