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Support needed for ‘Eat, Drink & Be Holyoke’ event sought

Date: 7/3/2014

HOLYOKE – The Holyoke Rotary Club is back raising money for children’s literacy for the ninth straight year with a revamped Eat, Drink & Be Holyoke.
On Oct. 2, a variety of restaurants, wine tastings, and a silent auction will take place to raise money for the Dr. Marcella R. Kelly Full Service Community School.
“We are looking for a better turnout this year compared to the last year’s due to all the changes in the event through location, additional tasting stations, live music and increased marketing efforts,” Brittney Kelleher, chair of the event, said.
The past eight years has seen the Loomis House Retirement Community in Holyoke hosting the event, but this year that will change to Gateway City Arts.
“Loomis was great and they were awesome to us,” Kelleher explained. “But it was never really well publicized. [We’re] leveraging our partnership with Gateway City Arts to become a positive catalyst for change in the negative perception of Holyoke by drawing in outside community advocates and showcasing the best of Holyoke, downtown.”
Gateway City Arts Co-directors Lori Divine-Hudson and Vitek Kruta added, “We are pleased to provide the Rotary Club with a venue for this event. The Rotary Club often works quietly behind the scenes to strengthen, improve and empower initiatives that benefit the community as a whole. These are values that Gateway City Arts are happy to support.”
The event will feature local craft beer, restaurant tastings, international wines, and a silent auction.
“We are always looking for items [for the silent auction],” Kelleher said. “In the past [people have given] Coach bags, Red Sox and Patriots tickets, a hot air balloon ride, whatever people want to donate.”
Along with the silent auction, sponsors are key to raising money to reach the goal for this year’s fundraiser and the Rotary Club is aiming high.
“Our goal is to raise $20,000 which we consider aggressive over prior years of $10,000 to $12,000.  Although its aggressive, it is attainable as we have a great committee working on the event of which all are passionate about the events’ success and the cause,” Kelleher said.
There are four sponsorship levels, which include $100, $200, $400, and $1,000 contributions. Those interested in sponsorships may email or call 572-4278.
More details regarding specific restaurants and wineries being featured at the event will be available closer to the date of the event.