Detroit St. Patrick's parade organizers donate to area nonprofits

It's still summer but the organizers of the Detroit St. Patrick's Day parade are already thinking of spring. They presented several checks to local charities. 

FOX 2's M.L. Elrick is the host of the parade's Family Fun Zone. He was on hand as Clark Park and six other nonprofits shared in the luck of the Irish.

"It's really important that we have the support of the St. Patrick's Day parade, it's a real shot in the arm for Clark Park and for our programming there at Clark Park," said Anthony Benavides.

Benavides is the director of the Clark Park Coalition. You may know Clark Park for its magnificent outdoor rink, or for the charity hockey game M.L. Elrick puts on there every winter with his ol' pal Mike Rataj.

On Tuesday, Benavides and other do-gooders gathered at Nemo's in Corktown with sponsors of the St. Patrick Parade. Their generous support allowed parade organizers to share what you might call the buck of the Irish.

"Tonight is a night about thank you to the sponsors that helped us make this event possible, but it's also a time where we're presenting seven checks to various charities around Detroit to help the community in various different ways from youth programs to senior programs," said Jim Cassidy.

Among the beneficiaries are the Downtown Boxing Gym, an after-school program for kids aged 8 to 18 that emphasizes academics as well as athletics.

"These contributions will definitely help us keep our reading intervention, our reading literacy, writing literacy, math intervention programs, keep going throughout the years and will hopefully help us get some of our boxers that are in the program who recently in the Detroit vs. Ireland match over to Ireland," said Kadeem Anderson.

Last week, Downtown Boxing Gym members participated in the Bridges Beyond Boxing event at Eastern Market. They're trying to raise $10,000 to send a dozen boxers and two coaches to northern Ireland in May. The program is about helping boxers from Detroit and Belfast exchange cultural awareness, when they're not exchanging blows. (Click here to help out.) 

In the meantime, preparations will begin soon enough for the 62nd annual St. Patrick's Parade, which is scheduled for March 15.