GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – With the cancellation of Gilda’s LaughFest and the postponing of its Signature Event featuring Jeff Foxworthy, due to concerns of COVID-19, over 700 meals were going to go unused. A majority of the meals, which were to be served during the March 14 event at DeVos Place in downtown Grand Rapids, will be donated Mel Trotter Ministries, which helps those experiencing hunger and homelessness. Other meals will be served during Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids suppers for the organization’s members and some will be donated to Degage Ministries. The food is being prepared and distributed by the Amway Grand Plaza. In addition to the food donations, Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids will extend its High Five donation program and is asking the community to consider donating virtually to the “High Elbow” appeal.

“We are in the unfortunate position of having to postpone our major fundraising event, Gilda’s Signature Event with Jeff Foxworthy, but we are honored to share the food that would have been served with another deserving community organization,” said Wendy Wigger, president, Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids.

Gilda’s LaughFest, which is in it’s tenth year, raises awareness for the free emotional health support of children, adults, families and friends on any kind of cancer journey or those grieving a death due to any cause. Annually, LaughFest and the High Five proceeds contribute 15-20 percent of Gilda’s Club’s general operating fund.

“The unexpected cancellation of the festival will have a major impact on our revenue stream as our time to ask the community for a ‘High 5’ gift has been reduced.  We are asking individuals to rally with us in solidarity to help ensure no one must face a cancer or grief journey alone, by making a virtual ‘High Elbow’ donation to Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids,” said Wigger. Learn more here.

Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids runs entirely on charitable donations and currently serves more than 10,000 individuals each year at its clubhouses in Grand Rapids and Lowell, Mich., in various schools and community centers. Those wishing to participate in the “High Elbow” campaign can do so on LaughFest or Gilda’s Club’s Facebook page or by calling 616-735-HAHA. A portion of the money raised during the appeal will be matched by the Herman Miller Cares and Peter C. & Emajean Cook Foundations.