Rats and Rods raises funds for local animals

The fifth annual Rats and Rods Car Party is set for 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday at the Muzzleloaders Club on 3125 Camp Road in Manistee. The event raises funds for the Hearts for Critters Food Foundation and the Manistee County Humane Society Homeward Bound Animal Shelter. (News Advocate File Photo)

The fifth annual Rats and Rods Car Party is set for 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday at the Muzzleloaders Club on 3125 Camp Road in Manistee. The event raises funds for the Hearts for Critters Food Foundation and the Manistee County Humane Society Homeward Bound Animal Shelter. (News Advocate File Photo)

MANISTEE — Celebrating its five-year anniversary, the Rats and Rods Car Party has grown in popularity, attracting cars from around the state for a good cause.

Set for 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday at the Muzzleloading Club on 3125 Camp Road in Manistee, the event raises funds for the Hearts for Critters Food Foundation and the Homeward Bound Animal Shelter.

“There’s a lot of people with really nice stuff but it isn’t the really perfect, fancy stuff and they need a place to go to. That’s what started this,” said Jim Sievert, event organizer and Manistee resident.

The event is free for the public to attend, and there is no charge for participants into the car show.

Vehicle entries can include hot rods, classic cars, muscle cars and vintage trucks, which should be made in 1980 or older, can be in any condition and can be driven or hauled.

Sievert said the support for the event has been fantastic.

“This year we’ve got stuff coming from all over, from Houghton Lake, Maple City and Grand Haven. Most of the stuff is local,” Sievert said. “It’s really kind of taken off (as a party) for the average man and the average car. That’s one reason I think it’s went over so well.”

Those interested in participating can show up, park in the show area and register, he said.

A swap meet for car-related parts will also occur throughout the event, and cars may be for sale during the event as well, according to Sievert.

Last year’s event raised between $400 and $500, which is split between Hearts for Critters and Homeward Bound, he said.

“A lot of the people who come there are animal people like us,” Sievert said. “I believe that’s what made it a success.”

Dawn Johnson, treasurer for the 501(c)3 nonprofit Hearts for Critters Food Foundation, said 100 percent of the money the organization receives goes toward purchasing dog and cat food for food pantries in Manistee County.

The money pays for almost a half of a pallet worth of food; a full pallet costs the foundation about $450 for cat food and $500 for dog food, according to Johnson.

Johnson said she is grateful the event raises funds for the organizations.

“We end up giving more and more to the local food pantries every year because there seems to be more and more people that are in need of it,” Johnson said.

When the foundation became a nonprofit organization in 2010, it needed hundreds of pounds of food a month, and now needs about 2,000 pounds of food a month to distribute to pantries in Bear Lake, Arcadia and Brethren, and at the St. Joseph Catholic Churches in Onekama and Manistee.

Pet food is also taken to the Manistee County Senior Center, Salvation Army of Manistee and Love in the Name of Christ (Love INC).

“Number one, I’m into classic cars so it’s great to see what cars people have,” Johnson said. “It’s a fun, family-oriented event.”

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Posted by Sean Bradley

Sean is the city and cops and courts reporter for the News Advocate, he also is in charge of the entertainment and Reasons to Celebrate pages. He can be reached at (231) 398-3109 or sbradley@pioneergroup.com.

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