Jail and Bail: Locked up for a cause

ALPENA – More than a dozen local leaders and prominent community leaders were “arrested” and put behind bars Monday, as part of the Alpena Senior Center’s 2nd annual Jail & Bail Fundraiser. Each person worked the phones to collect “bail” money that will not only be used to spring them from incarceration, but also be used for the the senior center’s Meals on Wheels program, as well as congregate meals.

Director Grace Marshall said the event is well received by the public and the volunteers do a great job of raising money for use of the food bank. Marshall said every dollar donated will result in $14 in food to senior food programs. She said Feinstein’s March Against Hunger also contributes 10 percent of what is raised as a whole.

“The volunteers and the people love this and without them we just wouldn’t be able to make this happen or have it be the success that it was,” Marshall said. “Last year we raised a little over $13,000 and with the match it brought it to about $14,600 or so. This year our goal is to raise $16,000. It is important, because using food bank gives us buying power we wouldn’t have without it.”

Among the “jailbirds” were Mayor Matt Waligora, sheriff Steve Kieliszewski, fire chief Bill Forbush and many others. Waligora said taking care of seniors in and outside of Alpena is important. He said someday those who are volunteering and donating now, may depend on others for assistance when they get older.

“This is my second year of being locked up and I think this and all of the food programs are great,” Waligora said. “The center has lost a tremendous amount of funding in the past, so fundraisers like these are extremely important. We are all going to be there one day. It will be us, so the way I look at it is we’re paying it forward now.”

The volunteers have been taking pledges and collecting donations outside local businesses. Several of Alpena’s representatives from Lansing and Washington D.C. are also taking pledges. Marshall said Pete Petallia and Dan Beneshek couldn’t be attend the event, but were committed to the cause and trying to raise funds in support for it.

Steve Schulwitz can be reached via email at sschulwitz@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5689.