From doing shows in person, moving virtual, and scrambling to make ends meet. It's been an exhausting journey for local performers during the pandemic.
But tough times didn't stop a group in Grand Rapids from donating some of their hard-earned money to charity. And it wasn't just a little bit of money, $110 ,000 was split up between several West Michigan charities.
The money is collected during "Drag with a Purpose" at Hamburger Mary's. It's easy to see how much the crowd loves the show, especially the encore where all the money collected goes to charity.
"I love it. When the whole family comes in and you see everyone ranging from ages, you know, like little kids all the way to the grandparents," said Alexa Vogel, performer.
The dancing, smiles, and songs make the night of the whole cast which includes: Show Director Chanel Hunter and performers, Alexa Vogel, Monique Madison, Yolanda DelFierce, Asio Aviance, Caj Monet, April Evangelista, and Reba Rose Ray.
"The DJ picks the song, we typically have no idea what's going to be played. And every dollar that is donated at during that number gets donated to a local charity for that month, and so far, in 2021, we've raised over $110,000 for local charities," said Vogel.
Thanks for the generosity of our neighbors in December 2021 alone, "Drag with a Purpose" raised $7,000 for the angel tree, gifting hundreds of toys to local kids.
"I think people were really excited to have entertainment back in their lives. And I think it really made people appreciate the craft," said Vogel.
Right now, the cast is missing these shows. Hamburger Mary's is closed while Covid cases surge. When Alexa Vogel and the case hit the stage again in a few months, it will be back to performing for a purpose.
"It was just, you know, lack of staffing, which every restaurant and you know, retail stores pretty much going through right now. With the numbers going on the rise, they really want us to take a step back regroup, let everyone kind of get refocused and come back better," said Vogel.
Some of the non-profits who have gotten some of this money include: The Red Project, As You Are non-profit and Grand Rapids Pride Center.
Hamburger Mary's plans to reopen in March 2022 and will open another location in Ypsilanti later in 2022.