Motorcycles ride Saturday for homeless shelter
Saturday’s third annual motorcycle Ride for the Homeless and Car Show at Southwestern Michigan College benefits Decatur’s Family Shelter.
New this year is freestyle stunt motorcyclist Josh Borne, who will be performing three free shows throughout the day.
The event takes place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., rain or shine, according to Jeremy Weinrick of Dowagiac, who has been with the homeless shelter for 13 years as coordinator and housing advocate.
There will be other fun family events besides the 1 1/2-hour motorcycle ride and car show, including free kids games, a bounce house, a dunk tank, a live disc jockey, dancing, raffle items, food vendors and bake sale items.
Kickstands go up at noon. Cost is $15 per bike (plus $5 with a passenger) and $15 for a car show entry.
The inaugural event at Decatur Village Market made $471. When it moved to SMC, the ride generated $1,500, so a $3,000 goal was set for June 22.
The ride through Cass and Berrien counties is divided into two legs of 45 and 40 minutes, separated by a stop at Chief’s Bar, 4790 Territorial Road, Benton Harbor.
Cycles leave SMC by Cherry Grove Road and Mathews Street and travel Wilbur Hill Road, Pokagon Highway, Indian Lake Road, Crystal Springs Street (which turns into M-140), Deans Hill Road (follow into Hochberger Road), Hipps Hollow Road (follow into Hillandale Road), Hillandale (follow across Pipestone and through Naomi), East Britain Avenue, Paul Street, Highland Avenue and Territorial Road.
Returning after the rest stop, the route follows Territorial to North Branch Street, County Line Road, Red Arrow Highway, County Road 681, M-51 and Division Street (M-62) back to Cherry Grove Road.
Southwest Michigan Community Action Agency, a private, non-profit CAA that is part of a state and national network, operates homeless shelters in Van Buren and Cass counties (two units in Cassopolis).
Incorporated in 1986, the agency began by providing human services to the residents of the two rural southwest Michigan counties, officially adding Berrien County to its service delivery area in 1992.
An 18-member board of directors governs SMCAA, bringing together equal representation of the public and private sectors and clients who receive services.
Policy matters, as well as programmatic and service issues are reviewed by those who have the insights to provide oversight and meaningful guidance to SMCAA.
SMCAA brings together federal and state grant funds as well as dollars from local, private and public sources. These resources are then directed into programs which aid the low income and otherwise disadvantaged throughout the age spectrum, from preschoolers to the elderly. Funds include dollars targeted at very specific problems, as well as dollars which can be spent with more flexibility.
The SMCAA administrative office is located in Benton Harbor, along with the food warehouse. Additional offices are located in Cassopolis in Cass County and in Lawrence in Van Buren County.
Community service workers in all three county offices provide services to clients, such as application for assistance and distribution of food commodities.
These workers also refer to other agencies which provide services SMCAA does not.
Weinrick said the Decatur shelter is a four-bedroom, two-bath house which can accommodate 13 to 15 people at a time for up to 90 days. It does not accept single men, but will provide vouchers for them. It does accept men and women with children, single females and co-habiting adults with children in common.
Weinrick said proceeds from the ride are “extremely important,” with hits shelter grants have taken. The money has been going to refinishing the wood floors, drywall repairs and a security system upgrade.
Thirty-five volunteered last year, from SMC alumni (of which Weinrick is one) and Girl Scouts to previous homeless clients “paying it forward.”
Supporters include Mobile DJ Sound Productions, Free Spirit Photography, Advocates for All of SMC, Clutch it Up Klick, Twisted Twin Custom Motorcycles, Coca-Cola’s Paw Paw plant, Judd Lumber, Special-Lite, First Presbyterian Church of Decatur, Decatur Republican, Wolford Electrical, Casual Tees, A-1 Auto Sales (Bonomo’s Collision), Lyons Industries and Oil Can Alley.