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Category : Heart of Detroit
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Air date: June 12, 2014 http://www.theheartofdetroit.org
For many of us, summer means barbecue season. For a young pastor named Mike Schmitt, every Saturday for the last eight years is barbecue season: a gathering between folks from the suburbs and the city. Mike: It started out with a Facebook message. My friend John sent it out to a couple friends, and he literally said what do you think would happen if we did this, and we all said, I don’t know — let’s try it. I thought that we were more likely to get beat up or arrested than for it to go well but about 40 people ended up showing up and we had a great time. Today, having formed ELEVATE DETROIT, Mike’s Community barbecue averages 150 people a week and, as you’d figure, lots more in the summer. Mike: It is not about feeding hungry people, it’s about having a party with people regardless of whatever they have or don’t have. We really, you know, have a lot in common — a lot more in common than we have different. From a group of college friends, to now over 70 participating churches, the community barbecue is a staple of this corner — even though the city inexplicably locked up the park here, forcing the grills onto the sidewalk. But rain, shine — or snow — the urban thanksgiving runs every Saturday afternoon. Mike: A lot of times somebody whose homeless or hungry, you spend a lot of time in soup kitchens and food lines, and they feel more treated like a project or a number, and I think when they realize they are not a project to us, I think that has really opened them up to embracing us too. Bridging the gap between suburbs and city — one burger at a time –Mike Schmitt and Elevate Detroit are bringing sizzle to the heart of Detroit.

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