Bed & Bread Radiothon celebrates 35 years

by Sharon Tatom Garcia

Salvation Army of Metro Detroit Advisory Board members with Central Territorial Commander Commissioner Brad Bailey and Eastern Michigan Divisional Commander Lt. Colonel John E. Turner

The Salvation Army Metro Detroit’s 35th annual Bed & Bread Club Radiothon raised more than $1.7 million this year to combat hunger and homelessness.

The 27-hour radio fundraiser on 760 WJR was broadcasted from the Eastern Michigan Divisional Headquarters in Southfield, Mich., and featured the station’s on-air personalities including Paul W. Smith, Sean Baligian, Kevin Dietz, Lloyd Jackson, Chris Renwick, Mitch Albom, Ken Brown, Steve Courtney, Kevin O’Neill and Guy Gordon.

“Partnering with The Salvation Army as the radiothon host has been an honorable cause these last 12 years,” said Steve Finateri, vice president/ market manager of 760 WJR. “It’s truly the support from our generous audience that makes this partnership so successful in the fight against hunger and homelessness in metro Detroit.”

Throughout the day, appearances from special guests, including Central Territorial Commander Commissioner Brad Bailey, Salvation Army Metro Detroit and National Advisory Board Member Jim Vella, and Bed & Bread Club founder and Detroit radio Hall of Famer Dick Purtan encouraged the community to donate and help those who are hungry and homeless. Michigan natives Tim Allen, Nicole Curtis, J.K. Simmons and Herman Moore also joined business and civic leaders to show their support of The Salvation Army.

Retiring after over 30 years of service, Sandy and Russ Dobney participated in their final Bed & Bread Club Radiothon.

“It’s the generosity from our donors that makes it possible for The Salvation Army to serve those in need at such a large scale. We are so lucky to have a partner like 760 WJR and generous contributors that make the services we provide the community possible,” said Lt. Colonel John E. Turner, Eastern Michigan divisional commander.

Members of the community also could support the program through an online auction where they could bid on items like tickets to attend a Detroit Tigers or Pistons game, a signed Red Wings jersey, pizza for a year or a 30-minute consultation from HGTV’s Nico Curtis.

The Salvation Army’s Bed & Bread Club Radiothon has raised more than $41.3 million in 35 years.

The Salvation Army of Metro Detroit’s Bed & Bread program serves nearly 4,400 meals each day to men, women and children who would otherwise go without. That’s nearly 1.6 million meals every year. In addition, the Bed & Bread program provides more than 77,000 nights of shelter annually. The Bed & Bread program serves many people via mobile soup kitchens. Bed & Bread trucks are on the streets of Detroit 365 days a year making designated stops throughout the day.

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