Tuesday, December 31, 2019


Annual charity raffle provides
Holiday food, toys for families

State Rep. Jewell Jones and Fred Smiley,
 founder and president of the Legends of Basketball
 join in the shopping for toys for 300 children
funded by the annual holiday raffle this year.
More than 100 families and 300 children were able to celebrate the Christmas holiday this year with food and toys provided by the annual Inkster Legends of Basketball Holiday Raffle.
According to founder and Director Fred Smiley, the event again this year at the Booker T. Dozier Recreation Center was “a smashing success.”
Smiley repeatedly thanked all the donors and sponsors, along with the volunteers, who made the event possible again this year.

A special display of fruits and vegetables
prepared by Melissa Smiley amazed
the volunteers and raffle hopefuls.
“I would just like to thank everyone, all those who sold tickets so that we could reach our goal. I would like to thank all the volunteers who helped fill the boxes and bags at Kroger along with the staff at the Cherry Hill and Merriman Kroger store,” he said.
Smiley said the generosity of the community was overwhelming this year and wanted to express his gratitude to businesses that contributed food to help feed the volunteers while they were working on preparing the gift boxes.
“Dunkin' Donuts in Wayne and Domino's Pizza in Westland, People's Bakery in Detroit, Better Maid Potato Chips in Detroit, S & F Foods in Romulus, Starbucks in Westland, Beverly Hills Pies, Hungry Howie's in Garden City, and Pepsico, along with Captain Hays in Inkster and Walls Fish and Chicken in Wayne,” Smiley said.
“Support for the event has grown beyond Inkster to the entire area and we just want to thank them all,” he added.
State Rep. Jewell Jones and his team again did the toy shopping for the more than 300 children helped by the raffle. Dr. Stiles Simmons, superintendent of the Westwood Community Schools and coach Jermaine Carter and members of the Robichaud High School basketball team  helped with the packing and loading.
Smiley said that the foster grandparents helped with the registration and organization and Al Backus and his staff at the Booker Dozier center had everything ready for the event when they arrived.
“I just want to thank them all,” Smiley said, “along with U-Haul in Inkster for allowing us to use the truck and the storage space.”
Smiley said he also owed a special thanks this year to his daughter, Melissa Smiley, who prepared one of her specialty fruit and vegetable arrangements and displays for the event.
“None of this would be possible without the goodness and grace of God,” Smiley said.
Winners of the grand raffle prizes this year included: Detroit Pistons game against the Eastern Conference Champion Milwaukee Bucks at Little Caesars Arena on Feb. 20 and a $50 dinner card at Sports & Social Detroit was Brian Quantz; The Harlem Globetrotter package along with an autographed basketball, head bands plus four tickets on Feb. 1 at Calihan Hall Detroit plus a $50 dinner card at Mr. Mikes Pizza Detroit was Mike Haljer and the two-night stay at the Bayshore Resort was Sam Mims.
Many, many other prizes were also awarded, Smiley said.
“We just want to thank everyone who donated, who helped, who sold or bought tickets. This is really a worthy event and we are able to help a lot of people enjoy the holiday,” he added.