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$5 Mardi Gras to Hit Downtown Kirkwood This Weekend

The Highlands Brewing Co. is hosting a "Midway to Mardi Gras" party on Sunday to help raise funds for Kirk Care, where donations are down but needs are up.

Mardi Gras is six months away. But a Kirkwood restaurant figures why wait, especially when there’s a good cause.

The . is hosting a “Midway to Mardi Gras” celebration Sunday to benefit Kirk Care, a local food pantry.

The benefit runs from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. and features the , “seasonal” drink specials and a mini Mardi Gras parade through Downtown Kirkwood, complete with a Soulard Mardi Gras float and the Banana Bike Brigade, known for its two-wheeled works of art. The suggested donation for the event is $5.

Kirk Care is a non-profit that helps provide residents within the with food donations and assistance paying utility bills and rent.

Organizers say donations typically dwindle in the summer when school is out and people take vacation.

“People wind down during the summer and they just don’t think about it and I think that’s why pantries run low,” said Sarah Pitt Kaplan, coordinator of Kirk Care. “I think people forget when it’s not the holiday season.”

But the need remains, she said. In fact, Kirk Care has seen an increase in clients in recent months due to unemployment and high food and utility costs.

“People are calling that are stunned by the predicament they’re in,” she said. They’re saying, “What am I going to do, pay that bill or buy food?”

Donations are affected by the economy, too.

“High utility bills, high food prices and the economy the way it is, people can’t donate as much,” Kaplan said.

Another way to help Kirk Care this month is by bringing in non-perishable food donations to , Kaplan said. Anyone who brings in five items will be entered into a raffle to win gift certificates to Duffy’s and Shop ‘n Save.

On Oct. 22, Hands on Kirkwood, an annual event started by members of , will collect food, personal items, paper products and cleaning supplies to help stock the pantry shelves at Kirk Care.

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