December 17, 2009

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Breakfast for everyone
Milly’s helps homeless effort with benefit
By Michael Witthaus music@hippopress.com

Christmas is a time for plenty — and a time to remember those with less. That’s something Peter Telge has been doing since his Christmas morning breakfasts for the homeless population of Manchester began in 1993. He ran them at different locations in the city until he opened Milly’s Tavern in 2002. At that time, he began collecting clothing at the brew pub — coats, scarves and gloves — to give out at the breakfasts.

Telge does a little bit of everything at the meals — cooking, serving and talking with diners. Last year he did these things even as his own home was without electricity.

In 2004, Milly’s held the first annual benefit concert to raise money for New Horizons for New Hampshire, a Manchester Street shelter that last year served more than 70,000 hot meals to needy families and individuals. The organization also runs Angie’s, a women’s shelter located at 434 Union St.

It’s been a tradition ever since. This year’s show, set for Friday, Dec. 18, is an all-acoustic affair featuring hometown favorites Streamline, Josh Logan, Adam Fithian from the band Prospect Hill, Alli Beaudry (who also tends bar at Milly’s) and Shannon Corey.

Last year’s show raised more than $5,000 for New Horizons, a figure that bar manager and booking agent Mike Kaminski believes the brew pub is on a course to beat.

Says Kaminski, “As of right now, we’re already expecting two to three hundred people. We hope to raise over $6,000. It’s a great cause, and we try to take initiative to help in any way possible.”

Kaminski has only worked at Milly’s a little over a year, but he’s energized and inspired by the effort. Many downtown businesses have committed items for a silent auction to be held at the show.

“We have a really nice logo jacket from Harley Davidson of Manchester and Nashua, a night in a suite at the Bedford Village Inn, gift certificates from Hart’s Turkey Farm Restaurant, Red Arrow Diner,” he says. “A lot of the local businesses are reaching out to us in any way possible — there’s a lot of gift certificates.”

He had particular praise for Carol Sheehan, who runs Red Arrow Diner and has provided publicity through her Sunday morning Food for Thought with the Taste Buds radio show on WTPL. Kaminski appeared as a guest on Dec. 13. 

“Carol’s always the first person to answer my e-mails, and the number-one person to help us out. She’s seen similar issue to what we see,” Kaminski said. “The homeless population and New Horizon, every year they’re lacking for financial needs. Clothing, canned goods, they can never get too much of either. We hear from our customers about their need for basic things that you and I take for granted — a warm jacket, a hot meal.

Admission is $10 advance or $15 at the door, and patrons are asked to bring food and clothing. Milly’s will also be accepting additional monetary donations for the homeless, which will be given out at the Christmas breakfast.