Michigan Dealership Hosts Rooftop Sit-in to Raise Funds for Homeless Shelter


High-profile annual event, shortened to one day due to COVID-19 restrictions, still generates $36,000 for The Haven of Rest.

Michigan Dealership Hosts Rooftop Sit-in to Raise Funds for Homeless Shelter

Bucket Brigade
The Haven of Rest employee Lola Hatcher was among those, including several Sunshine Toyota staffers, who gathered donations at high-traffic areas around Battle Creek.

How far is Sunshine Toyota prepared to go to support its local community of Battle Creek, Michigan? How about up on the roof of its facility?
That’s exactly what happened on a Friday in June when the dealership partnered with a local radio station to call attention to and raise funds for The Haven of Rest, Calhoun County’s only emergency shelter for homeless families.

Uplifting Experience
Daniel Jones (right), executive director of The Haven of Rest, was among those who spent the day atop Sunshine Toyota’s roof. The effort generated $36,000 for Calhoun County’s only emergency shelter for homeless families.

The Roof Sit has been a local fixture for the past 13 years. Gary Minneman, Jr., vice president and general manager of Sunshine Toyota, pledged $5,000 to the cause in 2018. That led 104.9 the Edge to ask if the dealership would be willing to take the next step and become a partner.
“You can’t live in this town and not hear the spots,” Minneman says. “We’ve hosted the event on our roof the past two years. In 2019, we raised $79,000, surpassing the previous year by $16,000. This year, because of COVID, the event was limited to one day rather than two. But we still managed to collect $36,000.”
The dealership’s IT department set up a Wi-Fi signal on the roof as well as six phone lines to take donations. Meanwhile, some of their colleagues erected a tent to give the radio hosts a bit of shade during the 12 hours they camped out on the roof.
Other employees collected contributions made by people who, prompted by the live radio broadcast, dropped by the dealership.

Happy to Help
Sunshine Toyota General Manager Gary Minneman (right) shares a lighter moment with one of one of the radio station’s DJs during the Rooftop Sit-In.

In the pre-pandemic days of 2019, Minneman says his team formed a “bucket brigade” that gathered donations at several high-profile locations around town, like retail store parking lots and fast food drive-thru lanes.
“Being involved in this and on the radio is a nice public relations benefit,” Minneman says. “But it’s really about doing what we can to help those who might be struggling with addiction and homelessness. Hopefully that makes for a stronger community, which is only better for all of us. We are very blessed to be able to give back 10 percent of our net profit to local charities like Haven of Rest.”


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