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Athletes & artists rally for OCEF, hunger



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November 25, 2009 - Ortonville- The danger of lead paint in toys has led to the birth of a new local charity.

Athletes Artists Against Hunger (A3Hunger) is a non-profit organization formed by some local men. Formerly, the Ortonville United Methodist Church's men's group held an annual garage sale to raise funds for charity, but with new state laws regarding the sale of toys that may contain lead paint, they decided to change tactics.

"David Allen, a friend of mine, came up with the idea of having a sports memorabilia auction," said Bob Brooks, a co-founder. "We decided to take it outside of the church and form our own company in July."

They are hoping the organization yields significant dollars for the Ortonville Community Emergency Fund, as well as Michigan Sportsmen Against Hunger and Meals for Millions. Their plan to do so will mean requesting autographed memorabilia from athletes and local teams including the Pistons, Tigers, Red Wings and Lions. The artist part of the idea came from Allen's brother-in-law, Jim

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Scullion, who has won the European Sports Artist of the Year twice. Once Scullion heard about their charity, he agreed to donate a piece of work he had done— a print of Michael Schumacher, a race car driver in Europe who Brooks describes as "the Tiger Woods of Formula One racing."

"The last time he sold a print of him in Europe, it sold for $27,000," Brooks said. "At that point, we decided instead of just sports memorabilia, we'd focus on art, too."

Scullion has also submitted a print of Comerica Park that Brooks will send to the Tigers in the hopes that everyone on the team will sign it. Scullion is also working on a painting of the Ortonville United Methodist Church with a scene set in the 1920s with children playing baseball on Church Street out front.

A3Hunger plans to have an annual auction and is planning their first for next August.

Besides the sports teams, Brooks has also written to the last 20 winners of the American Sports Artist of the Year and has already received a response from one winner, who has promised to send something.

In the meantime, A3Hunger will have their first dinner fundraiser, to support the auction, from 4-9 p.m., Dec. 1, at Bullfrogs, 2225 Ortonville Road. Find a coupon on page 4 of today's edition of The Citizen.

"We're excited, none of us have ever done anything like this," said Brooks.

"Anyone who is willing to help out, we're willing to work with. We hope to get local people involved. What better thing to do than feed the hungry in our community? As a group, we set a goal to raise $25,000 to distribute to charity. My personal goal is $50,000 from auction proceeds. It would be amazing."

Details: 248-462-4971 or visit a3hunger.com.

Susan covers Brandon Township and Ortonville
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