GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — After the cancellation of Pulaski Days due to COVID-19, the Polish halls that host the event may not recover.
"It's going to put some clubs in danger," says festival chairwoman Michelle Kirshner. "Many have not opened their doors since February."
At least not without the community's help.
The Save the Halls Fundraiser was launched the day the festival was cancelled back on Aug. 21. The goal is to raise $200,000 to keep the 14 halls in Grand Rapids open.
"We need to raise to help pay taxes," says Kirshner. "They can't do graduation parties, they can't do baby showers, they can't do wedding showers, they can't do weddings, they can't have receptions."
And now with their biggest money maker canceled too, the threat of closure after more than a century for some grows.
"I have many halls reaching 125 years," says Kirshner. "There's not many business in Grand Rapids that can say that, but the Polish halls? They can."
To help, RadCo Apparel owner Mark Radlinski stepped in.
"He has been a member of the Polish community for years," explains Kirshner. "He's another individual with Polish pride going 'I can't watch my halls fall apart. I've got to know this continues.'"
On the store's website, you can find everything from shirts to face masks with the phrase "save the halls." And all the proceeds go directly to the fundraiser.
"It's anything you might need for going out and about and showing your Polish pride," says Kirshner.
The goal with the apparel is $25,000, and with a little over $3,000 currently raised, there is a long way to go. To learn more about the Save the Halls apparel, click here. To make a cash donation to the fundraiser, click here.
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