31 Backpacks to hold fundraiser

HOUGHTON – 31 Backpacks relies mostly on donations to continue operating, but for the second time, the organization will conduct a fundraising event tonight, according to Melissa Maki.

31 Backpacks was created by daughter Melissa Maki, her mother, Laurel Maki, and friend Amy Zawada in October 2012. It provides enough food for a weekend packed into backpacks for students who may not otherwise have enough to eat.

Although the backpacks are usually loaded with enough food for a weekend, Maki said, over the Christmas vacation enough food was provided to cover the entire Christmas break, and that cost about $17,000, which is the reason for the fundraiser.

“We’re raising funds for spring break,” she said.

The 31 Backpacks now serves 195 students, Maki said, and each of them has to have enough food for the 12 days of the break.

The event, called Blues, Brews and Barbecues, takes place from 6:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. at the Shelden Grill in the Magnuson Franklin Square in Houghton. Food service is from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Maki said the meal will include barbecued ribs, chicken and fish, baked beans, coleslaw and corn on the cob.

The Keweenaw Brewing Company will be serving some of their beverages.

“Some of the food will be prepared with their beer,” she said.

The cost for the meal is $22.50, Maki said.

“(From that) $15 goes to us,” she said.

There’s going to be more at the event than just food, Maki said.

“We will have a silent raffle,” she said.

Offered in the raffle will be spa packages, gift cards to local businesses, a tool kit, a Blue Tooth radio, and paintings by local artists.

“There’s basically something for everyone,” she said.

Also at the event, Maki said the Space Cabbage blues band will perform.