RoboCharity: Ron Marz puts out the call to help feed Detroit

Earlier this month a tweet to Detroit Mayor David Bing set off a campaign to build a statue of Robocop in the motor city, the setting for the 1987 movie that starred Peter Weller as the title character. Using Facebook and Kickstarter, fans of the idea were able to raise $50,000 to build the statue.

Artifacts writer and CBR columnist Ron Marz, however, noted on Twitter that there were probably better uses for the $50,000 -- which has set off a campaign of its own.

"This was something that happened completely organically. I saw that the Kickstarter campaign to actually build a RoboCop statue in Detroit had brought in more than $50,000, and it just struck me as kind of ludicrous," Marz told Robot 6. "So I suggested on Twitter that a chunk of money that size would be better spent doing some real good, like feeding people in a soup kitchen. I've never actually met Gary Whitta, but we've struck up a friendship via Twitter. Gary suggested that the sort of whimsey the statue represents has a place, and ultimately I agree, but maybe now is not the time or place, when there are hungry people."

Whitta, the writer of Book of Eli, said he'd donate money to a Detroit-based food charity if Marz would, and thus RoboCharity was born.

"Gary said he'd donate $50 to a Detroit-based food charity if I would, I agreed, and then a guy from Detroit named Ryan Meray picked it up and created the Facebook page and the #Robocharity hashtag. It spread, and pretty soon I was getting tweets from people who were also making donations to the charity we agreed upon, which is Forgotten Harvest," Marz said.

The campaign is in full swing on Twitter, Facebook and various blogs, and has been covered by the local Detroit news. It's driving traffic to the charity's website, who noted on Twitter that "compared to last Thursday, our Web traffic and donations were up 1,000% (or 10 times greater)."

"It's really humbling to have something like this take off and do some real good. I think comic fans in particular are absolutely great about stepping up and doing the right thing. Before Christmas I offered up signed comics in exchange for donations to Toys for Tots, and the same thing happened. We raised a tidy sum, just because people want to do the right thing," Marz said. "It's kind of crazy, because I've never even been to Detroit. Not once. I'll actually be making my first trip there in September, to appear at Detroit Fanfare. I'd like to figure out something to do at Detroit Fanfare to raise some more funds."

To follow the campaign, check out the RoboCharity Facebook page, and to participate, head over to the Forgotten Harvest website to make a donation.

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