It was an evening of boogie and charity.
About 350 people passed through the doors of the Van Andel Institute Thursday night to attend Twilight Shines, the fifth annual benefit for Senior Neighbors, a nonprofit that promotes and supports the independence and health of Kent County’s older adults.
The theme of the evening was “Boogie Dynamite,” a 1970s extravaganza complete with music and clothing from the time. The benefit included both a live auction and a raffle to raise funds for Senior Neighbors. Seven items were raffled and five were auctioned off, including a suite at the Amway Grand Plaza for the night of the Celebration on the Grand. The suite, valued at $3,750, was sold for $2,200 after a friendly bidding war.
Radio personality Tony Gates, host of “The Tony Gates Show” on WJRW AM 1340, served as the evening’s auctioneer. Gates, dressed in a blue boogie suit with white platforms, told the audience to dig deep into their pockets to support charity.
“Tonight is not the night to be Dutch,” Gates quipped.
Robert Barnes, president of Senior Neighbors, said this fundraiser is always one of the nonprofit’s biggest intakes. Although it receives some government funding, he said, Senior Neighbors relies on the support of the Van Andels and other sponsors.
“These are a huge undertaking,” Barnes said. “We rely on the community, so we’re grateful. When you see people supporting our mission, it’s wonderful.”
David and Carol Van Andel attended Twilight Shines as the guests of honor. David Van Andel said he was glad to support a nonprofit he felt made a difference in the lives of so many senior citizens. His wife, Carol, agreed, adding a personal thank you to the volunteers who work with seniors.
“We don’t do this to be a shining star. I think the real shining stars are in the audience,” she said, gesturing to the volunteers wearing tie-dye shirts. “As the daughter of a senior who has assistance, what a blessing caregivers are.”