HAMTRAMCK — Fleeces, football and philanthropy. It was all happening Saturday, April 27 at Fowling Wearhouse in Hamtramck on Saturday.

Young adults from across Metro Detroit gathered and the iconic Hamtramck bar for a day of volunteering and play, while learning what they can do to support local Catholic ministries.

Participants paid $25 to make fleece blankets for children in the hospital with the local nonprofit, Fleece and Thank You, and took to the lanes to play Fowling, a trademarked game involving participants throwing footballs at a set of bowling pins.

Young adult “Fowl,” a game involving throwing footballs at a set of bowling pins.

The event was part of the Catholic Foundation of Michigan’s first Spring Forward event, where young adults could socialize, volunteer and learn more about the Catholic Foundation of Michigan, which last year awarded $88,500 in impact grants to Catholic ministries throughout the Archdiocese of Detroit.

“Today is a day for getting together with what will be over 100 people, not only creating blankets for children in the hospital through Fleece and Thank You, but creating a sense of Catholic togetherness,” said Chris Nemes, youth volunteer for the Catholic Foundation of Michigan. “We’re bringing together people from all over the Metro Detroit area, whether it is Birmingham, Detroit, Downriver, Novi, Northville, we’re bringing them all together for a day of impact, day of fun.”

Nemes estimates the vents will raise up to $8,000 through ticket sales and sponsorships that will be used to support the supplies for Fleece and Thank You and build up a young Catholic philanthropic fund to host more events like the one at the Fowling Warehouse.

Folwers watch as their opponents across the lane throw a bowl at their pins, knocking them out of the game.

“I think days like this are important because when we look at the events where we grant money to different organizations, those organizations are the result of networking and people coming together,” Nemes said. “When we have Nick (Kristock) from Fleece and Thank You, and an idea where we can put on an event at a very reasonable price, bringing people together with the same interest, there will be more events like this to spring up around the Metro Detroit region.

“Even with today and people buying a $25 ticket, it shows that if a person might not have tens of thousands of dollars to give right now, just showing up today to buy a ticket that will be used to fund different Catholic organizations, it shows what we can do when we pool our resources,” Nemes continued.

Spring Forward allowed young adults to have a ‘ice breaker’ through making a fleece blanket for a child in the hospital through the local nonprofit, Fleece and Thank You.

Established in 2017, the Catholic Foundation of Michigan had $4,179,781 in total assets in its first year, which was used to fund 50 grants that totaled $75,500. In 2018, the organization had $7,327,756 in total net assets, which was used to supply 171 grants with an aggregate value of $896,234.

 As attendees were making fleece blankets for children in the hospital, Kristock explained Michigan-based nonprofits impact across the state.

“Fleece and Thank You works with 26 hospitals across the sate of Michigan, as far north as Petoskey and as far west as Kalamazoo, and right here in Detroit and in between,” Kristock said. “We normally try to make 30,000 blankets a year that will go to children in need fighting a difficult diagnosis.”

 Spring Forward will the first of many social events by the Catholic Foundation of Michigan to bring together young adults to discuss philanthropy and collaboration opportunities, said Chris Nemes, youth volunteer for the Catholic Foundation of Michigan.

The blankets are supplemented by a short video by the blanket makers to the blanket recipient, urging them on their fight in the hospital.

“What we are doing here today is bringing out different people to distribute a lot of good through blankets to children, so it goes together with the mission of the Catholic Church, the mission of Catholic togetherness,” Nemes said. “We probably are going to end up today with 60 to 70 blankets for kids in the hospitals, in such a great ice breaker activity like making a blanket with someone you met for the first time, doing a great service for someone you don’t know, but will make all the difference in the world for them.”


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