The Salvation Army of Metro Detroit’s 28th annual Bed & Bread Club Radiothon raised $1,397,817 to fight hunger and homelessness during today’s 16-hour event, which aired live from a new venue,Emagine Theatres in Royal Oak, on News/Talk 760 WJR.

The 2015 total pushed contributions raised during the Radiothon’s 28-year history above the $30 million mark. By evening’s end, total contributions since the Radiothon’s launch in 1988 reached $31,158,073 million.

The total funds raised included a $300 personal gift from James Robertson, the Detroiter who spent the last ten years walking 21 miles a day to and from his factory job in Rochester Hills. His story recently gained media attention and generous donations from around metro Detroit.

For the fifth year in a row, The Salvation Army of Metro Detroit partnered with News/Talk 760 WJR and its on-air personalities Paul W. Smith, Frank Beckmann, Mitch Albom and Big Al Muskavito, as well as Ken Rogulski, Steve Courtney, Ken Brown and Ed Kelly.

Bed & Bread Club Chairman and retired Detroit radio Hall of Famer Dick Purtan returned to the airwaves to host the final three hours of the marathon broadcast. He was joined by Purtan’s People Jackie Purtan, Joe Noune, Dave Zoran, Rebekah Rhoades, Jim Ochs and Big Al.

Among the day’s largest contributions:
Ford Motor Company Fund generously donated $170,000, of which $120,000 will create “Harrison,” a special Junior Bed & Bread truck designed after the animated star of the Bed & Bread cartoon. “Harrison” will visit schools as a Junior Bed & Bread Club ambassador as well as serve meals.

Moran Chevrolet donated a 2014 Chevrolet Sonic, which will be awarded as a door prize. In addition, Pat Moran made a personal $10,000 matching donation.

Marathon Petroleum Corp. pledged one year of fuel for the newest truck in the Bed & Bread program’s regular fleet, added through Ford Motor Company Fund’s generous 2014 Radiothon contribution.

Again this year, Garden Fresh Gourmet of Ferndale sponsored the Bed & Bread tote board for $25,000 plus an additional $10,000 from the company’s employees. President and CEO of Garden Fresh, Jack Aronson and his wife Annette personally contributed a $35,000 matching gift in the broadcast’s final hours. Co-CEO and General Council of Garden Fresh John Latella and his wife Shelly gave $2,500.

Toyota Motor Sales USA announced an additional $10,000 on top of a previous $15,000 donation through the automaker’s “Walk in My Boots” event, which provided 150 pairs of Moosejaw boots to women and children at The Salvation Army’s Denby Center.

Toyota was presented with The Salvation Army’s 2015 Corporate Giving Award, recognizing the corporation’s extraordinary support of the Bed & Bread program.

Michigan Financial Companies donated $25,000 generated by the early-February Comedy for a Cause fundraiser at Mark Ridley’s Comedy Castle in Royal Oak.

During a multiple match noon hour, The Salvation Army Metropolitan Advisory Board and the Metropolitan Detroit Women’s Auxiliary donated more than $46,240.  The monies during this time were designated for the Bed & Bread Drop-In Center at Christ Church Detroit.  The Alexa Brown Memorial Fund matched donations up to $100,000 during this time.

The Dick and Gail Purtan Family Foundation contributed $30,000, and Edsel and Cynthia Ford contributed $25,000, both in matching gifts. Actor and comedian Tim Allen called in a $15,000 matching gift. In addition to providing Emagine Theatre Royal Oak as the Radiothon venue, founder and chairman of Emagine Entertainment, Paul Glantz, personally gave a $10,000 matching gift.

Other significant contributions throughout the 16-hour broadcast included a $15,000 matching gift from ITC Holdings Corp., $10,000 donation from NAI Farbman/The Farbman Group; $10,000 from Stream Michigan; $6,000 from Andiamo; and $5,000 each from Pat Milliken Ford and Detroit recording artist, KEM.

“Residents and corporations across metro Detroit have really shown their true colors today, by giving to those who need it most through their wonderful contributions and resounding support of the Bed & Bread Program,” said Major Mark Anderson, general secretary and metro Detroit area commander for The Salvation Army Eastern Michigan Division. “We want to express our deepest gratitude to Tom O’Brien and everyone at WJR, as well as Dick Purtan and Purtan’s People, Paul Glantz and the staff of Emagine Theater in Royal Oak. Thank you so much for the tremendous success of our 28th annual Radiothon and for making it all possible.”

“Each year WJR has partnered with The Salvation Army for the Radiothon, we are always proud of the incredible support our listeners show for the Bed & Bread program,” said News/Talk 760 WJR General Manager Tom O’Brien. “We are glad WJR can be a part of helping to feed and shelter those who are facing the cold this year, all through the good work of The Salvation Army.”

The nonprofit’s Bed & Bread Program is solely funded by the annual Radiothon—the largest single-market, single-day radio fundraiser in the country. Every dollar raised during the Radiothon is going directly to the Bed & Bread program, which serves more than 5,000 meals each day to men, women and children who would otherwise go without. That’s more than 1.8 million meals every year. The program also shelters more than 600 homeless individuals each night, more than 212,000 nights annually.

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