BIG RAPIDS -- Area residents have an opportunity to help out their neighbors and their furry friends next weekend during the Riley MacKenzie Fund 10th Anniversary Fundraiser.

Debbie Szot, founder of the Riley MacKenzie Fund, said the purpose of the annual event is to raise money for the volunteer-based organization to continue to provide services to people of Mecosta, Osceola and Lake counties and their pets.

"It's a fun event and there's a really big need in this community to help animals," she said. "All of the funds will go to help animals."

Szot explained she began the Riley MacKenzie Fund in 2009 with the hopes of giving back to the area.

The organization now assists residents in need with veterinarian costs, placement of pets if an owner can no longer take care of the animal and also makes trips to local schools to teach students about how to take care of and respect pets.

This year's fundraiser is set for 6 to 11 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 5, at the Big Rapids Eagles No. 2535, 18361 16 Mile Road.

Szot said the evening will be filled with food, live music from local artists, raffles and a silent auction.

Glenda Montague, event chairperson and a member of the Riley MacKenzie Fund board, added several local businesses and organizations donated items for the event.

"We have a lot of wonderful auction items," she said.

Michigan State Police Trooper Casey Lalone and his K9 partner Smoke also will be joining the festivities at 7 p.m.

Szot said Lalone will be speaking to attendees about what police dogs do and will host a question and answer session for those interested.

"We really enjoy helping people in need and their animals," Montague said. "That's why we do this every year."

Those who wish to support the organization can send checks made out to The Riley MacKenzie Fund, PO Box 27, Paris, MI 49338.