Good faith on tap

Project Starburst teams with Crankers for fundraiser

Kaila Parent, Production Assistant

Financial difficulties may not be a problem for some, but for others, living paycheck to paycheck is a constant struggle.

On Monday, Sept. 8, Cranker’s Brewery teamed up with Project Starburst to fight poverty and hunger in the community with “Be On Tap,” a beer tasting dinner fundraiser.

“Be On Tap” kicked off on Monday at 6:30 p.m. Tickets were $25 and included five of Cranker’s signature brews to go with five uniquely prepared appetizers. Some attendees stayed after the event to watch a live band entertain in the brewery.

The first course of the night included a honey kolsch served with ginger shrimp on a bed of fresh arugula. The second course featured a cherry wheat beer served with polenta stuffed with chorizo, smoked gouda, and roasted red peppers. The third course got more tropical with a coconut porter paired with grilled swordfish kabobs and a lime, cilantro cream sauce. The fourth course featured a sustainer served with pan-seared beef medallions. A black wings beer wound things down and for dessert, red raspberry dark chocolate flourless torte.

Alexis Adaschik, a junior in marketing and waitress at Cranker’s, said that she and the employees were excited to work the event. “It’s for a good cause, so everyone is really happy to be here and be a part of it,” Adaschik said.

Planning the event with Cranker’s was uncharted territory for Diane Long, executive director at Project Starburst.

“This is the first time we’ve done one of these, at Cranker’s or anywhere else,” Long said. “Project Starburst is basically a food pantry.”

The organization was founded in 1971; Long has been helping now for four years. Project Starburst operates out of the United Church of Big Rapids, free of cost.

Project Starburst provides aid to around 350 families every month between Mecosta and Osceola county. “What we’ve found is that the majority of families that we serve at Project Starburst are what I would call ‘underemployed.” Long said. “It’s difficult for them to meet all of their expenses.”

But Project Starburst serves more that just families in the community. “The mission of Project Starburst is that we give food to anyone that walks in our door. We do not have an income limit,” Long said. “We serve some Ferris students when things get tight.”

In addition to providing food, Long is involved in writing grants to pay for utility bills and other areas where funding is available. Also, Ferris’ American Marketing Association has approached Project Starburst about a potential fundraiser.

Several students fulfill internship requirements through Project Starburst every semester. Long always encourages students and community members to volunteer. “We can always use a little help with trying to do fundraisers. As it stands, myself and one other person are the only employees,” Long says.

Jim Crank, the owner of Cranker’s Brewery spoke with the Pioneer back in August about his involvement in the community. “We try to help whenever someone from the community approaches us with their fundraising needs,” Crank.

Cranker’s has previously hosted numerous fundraisers, including multiple character breakfasts for the Big Rapids Community Library.

At “Be On Tap,” Cranker’s donated 15% of it’s sales before 10 p.m. to Project Starburst. The 150 tickets available sold out****. This raised **** for people in need of assistance in the community.

To find out more about Project Starburst and volunteering opportunities, visit their website at