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COTS to hold annual Soup City event January 26 to raise dollars to help the homeless

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If you can’t make the Mardi Gras in New Orleans or want to get a jump on those festivities and help out the less fortunate at the same time this party is for you.

COTS (Coalition on Temporary Shelter) will host its 18th annual Soup City event on Thursday, January 26 at 5:30 p.m., at Detroit’s Historic GEM and Century Theatres at 333 Madison Street in Detroit. The annual fundraiser for COTS has a Mardi Gras theme with great food and bands. Its ultimate goal is to raise money and awareness for COTS’ commitment to eliminating poverty and achieving stable housing for all Detroiters.

The party is fun, but here are the facts that make it so important to help out.

On any given night, there are more than 16,000 homeless in Detroit, and one third of them are children, according to COTS, which helps find emergency shelter for many. It operates at capacity all year long, offering programs and services for more than 900 men, women and children every day. Every night more than 100 children lay their heads down on pillows at the COTS shelter.

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Every night more than 100 children lay their heads down on pillows at the COTS shelter.

“I really love the mission to help people who don’t have a home,” says Robyn Smith, a 20-year COTS employee who has planned Soup City for the past 16 years. “That’s the bottom line behind everything we do here every day. We’re housing people and raising money to house people. You can’t have a better job than that.”

You can help by attending Soup City and enjoying good food, music and conversation. More than 20 local restaurants will offer a “Taste of New Orleans” in soups and small plates. All food is donated by such restaurants as Andiamo, Bistro Orleans, Motown Soup and Detroit’s Food Lab. There will be music to set a festive mood from The Jerry Ross Band, the Less Williams Trio and Monsieur Guillaume and His Zydeco Hepcats.

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A highlight each year is the themed basket auction including such goodies as Pistons and Red Wings tickets, a Henrik Zetterberg signed puck, a basketball signed by the Cleveland Cavaliers and more.

You’ll also see:

  • An entertainment story/segment featuring one of the bands
  • A food story/segment featuring recipes from some of the supporting restaurants
  • A human interest feature of a COTS client’s success story
  • A profile of the event co-hosts and their Detroit devotion

This year’s hosts are Chris and TaNisha Prater, owners of Detroit’s THRIFT on the AVE (TOTA), and Jeff and Mary Hocking.

The Praters are COTS supporters in many ways, including a Consignment for COTS program at TOTA that earmarks items for COTS clients and donates proceeds to the organization. They founded the store at 4130 Cass Ave. based on a fundamental tenet to give back. Throughout the year, TaNisha works with COTS clients, helping them select outfits for job interviews, hosting Dress for Success workshops, offering tips for being savvy on a dime and serving as one of COTS’ Leading Ladies. She believes “looking fabulous does not have to break the bank” and “building a wardrobe for success” is critical.

The Hockings are also dedicated COTS supporters and entrepreneurs.

TV personalities and spouses Jason Carr from WDIV and Taryn Asher from Fox 2 are media hosts for the event.

Soup City tickets are $50 for general admission tickets and $100 for VIP access, which includes a drink ticket for the cash bar and $250 funny money for the casino.

Click here to buy tickets.

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