by Kirby Lindsay, posted 24 September 2012
On Saturday, September 29th, the Salvation Army will present a one-night-only, special performance – and fundraiser. ‘Gimme Shelter’ will, hopefully, raise money to expand the services of the Pike Street Women’s Shelter (from 22 beds to 35,) while simultaneously offering an entirely unique entertainment experience.
At Hale’s Palladium, audiences can enjoy the singular opportunity to see – on one stage – Joel McHale, Chris Ballew, Lara Paxton, Henrik Bothe, Bill Robison, Godfrey Daniels, and the Microsoft Jazz Band. ‘Gimme Shelter’ will provide this Moisture Festival-esque evening, at $125 per person, to help women find a safe place to stay – and a chance at a better future.
A Shelter For Women Off The Street
The Pike Street Women’s Shelter offers its beds to women of all ages (from 18 – 80,) and allows them to stay for one-night up to six months. “It keeps ‘em dry, keeps ‘em off the street,” explained Susan Slate, Financial Development Director for the Salvation Army Northwest Division, “we also have programs if they are interested.”
The women can use the showers, the laundry and the kitchen – and if they want to take steps from meeting their immediate needs to changing their circumstances long-term, the case workers at the shelter can help them access services and resources to do that too.
The Pike Street Women’s Shelter occupies a building in Downtown Seattle original built as a jewelry store. “The safe is now used for food storage,” Slate reported, enjoying the irony. Audience members at ‘Gimme Shelter’ will help raise money to remodel the building so it can provide more beds, and more services, to the women.
Of course, as with most of the vast amount of philanthropic work done by the Salvation Army, the day-to-day expenses of the shelter are funded by donations from supporters. As a 501(c)3, but also a church, the Salvation Army cannot qualify for some federal grants. Meanwhile, they offer religious support and education to the people they serve, “it’s there if you want to partake of it,” Slate explained, but set no requirements that the people they help participate.
An Entertainment For Audiences To Adore
The cause is admirable – but the inspiration for this unique experience actually started with its emcee, currently a star on the television programs shows ‘The Soup’ and ‘Community’, but also once a performer on ‘Almost Live!’. “His mother-in-law is a donor,” explained Slate, who handles major gifts, and took the offer when McHale agreed to give his time.
“We were all wracking our brains,” Slate explained. She put her head together with Salvation Army Board Member Patsy Pattison to work out a way to make the best use possible of that McHale’s time, “and why not give him a good time too?” Slate mused.
Once they had McHale, local musician Chris Ballew signed on. A friend of McHale, and other donors, he wanted to help, and “he just said he would do some songs,” Slate reported. The incredibly talented and versatile musician, Ballew works with the band Presidents Of The United States Of America and as child entertainer Casper Babypants, and Slate admitted, “we’ll let him do what he wants.”
While brainstorming ideas for an evening, Pattison and Slate considered Moisture Festival, the varieté/vaudeville shows, of which they are both fans. “It’s all so different than what we usually do,” Slate explained, so the contacted Moisture Festival founder, Ron Bailey, and he helped book them a quartet of the most popular Moisture Festival performers – Henrik Bothe, Bill Robison, Lara Paxton, and Godfrey Daniels.
“I really want to bring the Salvation Army to people that don’t know what we do,” Slate said, and “this is really out of our norm.” So, they also teamed up with First Team Media, and professional producer Bill Kaczaraba, who has helped put together a show as fun as Moisture, with a line-up – that includes several jazz interludes – likely to entice people only marginally interested in the cause.
Yet, Slate expects the message will come across. “We are planning to do a few minutes on the Pike Street Women’s Shelter,” she said, “and there will be some people there in uniform.” These are members of the Salvation Army, those in mission, who hold ranks within the church, and will be on-hand to answer questions of those looking curious about the Salvation Army and its good works.
Those who want to help the Shelter, and those who just want to enjoy the comedy and varieté, can still purchase tickets (priced at $125 as a nod to the 125th Anniversary of Salvation Army in Seattle.) Thanks to sponsors Jackie Galen, Jan & Earl Anderson, and Bartell Drugs, all ticket sale proceeds will go straight to funding the shelter remodel.
“This is really a little bit off the wall,” Slate admitted. In May, the Salvation Army holds an annual fundraiser called ‘Soup Line,’ a luncheon at a Downtown Seattle hotel, and raises money for all Salvation Army programs. This one night, consider supporting ‘Gimme Shelter,’ just for the fun of it.
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©2012 Kirby Lindsay. This column is protected by intellectual property laws, including U.S. copyright laws. Reproduction, adaptation or distribution without permission is prohibited.