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By Sterling McGinn

When Seder’s Pizza owner Jo Tranchita saw a Facebook post about a needed roof replacement for the Senior’s Citizens building, she knew right away she needed to help out. “It just weighed on my heart,” Tranchita said. “We needed to do something as a community.”

The roof over the  Tahquamenon Area Senior Citizen’s (TASC) building has leaked for a number of years, and needs to be replaced. The building, which is located on West Helen Street, is home to their thrift store and the LINK.

“We actually have been raising money for a new roof for almost two years,” said Peggy Dahn, TASC president. They didn’t announce the need  back then.

To begin setting aside funds for the project, the organization earmarked 15 percent of weekly sales from the thrift store. “When we started getting more and more leaks, we actually doubled that,” she explained. Before the roof got to a more urgent state, the group knew they needed a little assistance.

To help with the fund-raising efforts, Tranchita started donating a portion of each pizza sold during the month of March. She also decided to start a thrown down challenge among other area businesses. Her “Raise the Roof” fund-raiser encouraged businesses  to beat her donation.

Tranchita and her staff distributed flyers around town encouraging area businesses to participate during the month of March.

Businesses could raise funds by donating portions of each sale, or of a specific item. Others said they would collect employee donations. “It was a fun way for me to get out and meet some of the business owners I haven’t met yet,” explained Tranchita.

After the month-long challenge was over, the checks from participating  businesses were revealed at Seder’s Pizza on April 1.

In addition to Seder’s Pizza, a total of four other local businesses participated in raising the roof. Newberry Motors donated the  largest amount in the challenge through portions generated from car sales. For raising the most money, Kevin Vanatta, owner of Newberry Motors, received a free lunch or dinner for up to ten people at Seder’s Pizza.

Other local businesses participating were: U.P. Trading Co., Halfway Lake Resort, and MBank. The amount generated between the five businesses totaled $3,732.

At the Senior Citizen’s Thrift Store, a donation jar is located at the checkout counter. All of the proceeds earned from sales at the thrift store on Mondays are set aside for the roof. The proceeds from a recent furniture donation will also help with the project.

The group is still waiting to receive an estimate on the cost of a roof replacement, which will also include the section over the LINK. The group will not know the total cost for the project until the estimate is received.

“A lot of people are really stepping up,” Dahn said. “I know how this town works—that’s the reason we are here, because we help them, and they help us.”