Rock-4-Tots raises toys, money for Christmas presents

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C&G Newspapers

CLINTON TOWNSHIP —Margie Anders remembers the first time she was introduced to the Goodfellows. It was Christmastime, and she was only 3 years old.

She can still picture the Goodfellows — men in long, red suits — coming through the front door and dropping off plastic bags of Christmas presents for her and her five siblings. Her mother, a single parent of six, was crying with joy, she recalled.

“She told me she wasn’t sad. She was happy because us kids were so good that Santa sent his special friends to buy for us,” Anders said.

Nowadays, the Clinton Township Goodfellows’ efforts to deliver Christmas presents to hundreds of Clinton Township children are partially supported by an annual daylong Rock-4-Tots fundraiser at Pub 1281 in Clinton Township.

Rock-4-Tots, a 15-hour event, is put on by a committee of local organizers, which includes Anders, a co-founder. The fundraiser brings in acoustic performances from more than 50 metro Detroit musicians. Each performs three songs, including at least one holiday jingle.

Rock-4-Tots this year will run from 11 a.m. Dec. 2 to 2 a.m. Dec. 3. Pub 1281 can be found at 1281 S. Gratiot in Clinton Township.

Admission to the family-friendly event is a new, unwrapped toy or a $5 cash donation at the door. One hundred percent of the proceeds go to “No Child Without a Christmas,” Anders said.

This year’s acts include Sponge’s Vinnie Dombrowski, Ty Stone, members of Uncle Kracker’s band, Citizen Zero, Joe Kane and Carolyn Striho, among others.

Rock-4-Tots also will feature speed painter Dave Santia, who will be raffling off his artwork; a children’s music clinic; a chance to win a plasma TV, donated by WOW Cable; an instant photo booth; a visit from Santa Claus; and more. WRIF Rock Radio will be broadcasting live from the event, as well.

In past years, Rock-4-Tots has raised thousands of dollars for the effort. It is put on entirely through volunteer-driven efforts and donations, and no part of the proceeds go toward covering the overhead.

“We do it from a zero budget,” Anders said.

The event has continually expanded throughout its five-year duration, growing from 24 performers the first year. After the scheduled lineup of musicians ends at around 12:30 a.m., musicians are welcome to an open jam session.

Anders said the idea for the event was spawned from the concluding scene of “It’s a Wonderful Life,” when George Bailey returns homes to find most of the town having banded together with the money necessary to save his Building and Loan.

“The need is out there, but a lot of individuals don’t see it,” Clinton Township Goodfellows President Bob Turner added. “A lot of families might just be living day-to-day, and those are the types of people who we want to help.”

Turner said the sign-up to receive Christmas gifts is closed, and more than 700 children — up to 15 years old — will be receiving presents. The Goodfellows give parents the option of receiving the presents in private, away from their children.

In April 2011, state Rep. Marilyn Lane presented Anders and fellow Rock-4-Tots founder James Klapp, a co-owner of Pub 1281, with a humanitarian award from the state that was signed by Lane, Gov. Rick Snyder and U.S. Sen. Carl Levin.

In the meantime, a drop box for toy donations is available at Pub 1281 through Dec. 2.

Donations also can be mailed directly to the Clinton Township Goodfellows, c/o Rock-4-Tots, PO Box 380643, Clinton Township, MI 48036. Checks must be made payable to the Clinton Township Goodfellows.

For more information about Rock-4-Tots, including a musician lineup, visit the event’s Facebook page. Search for the group name “Rock-4-Tots benefiting the Goodfellows ‘No Child Without a Christmas.’”