About Us

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Our Story

 

Benefit on the Bay was created by Mike Schodowski, who was first invited to volunteer at the Capuchin Soup Kitchen as a young man. The experience of feeding the poor led to a life-long relationship with the soup kitchen, as well as the work of the Detroit Capuchin friars of Bonaventure Monastery.

 

The very first benefit was held in 1993, when Mike invited family and friends to the Island Cove Marina in hopes to raise money for the nonprofit. With beer, pizza, and an AM/FM radio, this modest crowd gathered and by the end of the night collected $1,400 in donations. Not bad!

 

As the annual event gained attention, it eventually moved to Gino’s Surf and had a wonderful three-year run at the popular establishment. However, it kept on growing…

 

To mark it’s tenth anniversary in 2003, Benefit on the Bay was moved to MacRay Harbor in Harrison Township. All was on schedule until the night before the big day, when a massive power outage hit across eight states of the Northeast and Midwest, cutting power to 50 million people. While at first devastating, there was a beacon of light on the water that day as MacRay’s just happened to have a generator.

 

Then the next evening, without the ability to call ahead and see if the event was still on, people had faith and made the trek there. The show must go on — and so it did! With a tremendous turnout, Benefit on the Bay was a success once again, blackout or not.

 

From then on, every year has been a sellout with crowds over 600. This extravaganza goes all out — from live and silent auctions, upscale appetizers and dinner, live music and dancing in a fabulous atmosphere.

 

100% of the cost is covered by a donation from the Schodowski family and their business, Shelving, Inc. To date, Benefit on the Bay has raised over $1.5 million in net proceeds for Capuchin Soup Kitchen.

 

Mike truly believes that anything is possible when it comes to the legacy of Father Solanus and the Soup Kitchen that Fr. Solanus co-founded. During his lifetime, this American Capuchin Friar and priest was known as a wonder worker. Many people considered him instrumental in cures and other blessings they received.

 

Isn’t it amazing what we can accomplish when we’re in it together.