Entertainer with local ties creates philanthropic variety show

Mike Van De Carr

LIBERTY — Comedian and magician Mike Van De Carr has been mulling over a way to give back to the community for a few months. For Van De Carr, the answer was to do what he does best.

“I’m aiming for a variety show,” he said. “It will have comedy, magic, music and dance. I reached out to Hailey Kenkel with the city and with some local businesses to see what we can do.”

The variety show will be Saturday, Nov. 17, at the Liberty Community Center, 1600 S. Withers Road. Proceeds benefit the Liberty Community Christmas Tree program, which provides gifts and food for those in need around Christmas.

“This variety show is a unique and fun way to bring the community together during the holiday season to support a program with a rich history of helping community members,” said Kenkel, Liberty’s community services manager.

The Liberty Community Christmas Tree program formally began in 1992. LCCT is a partnership between the LCCT Commission, the City of Liberty and the Liberty Public School District that supports families and senior adults who live within Liberty School District boundaries. To help with the financial stresses that come with the holidays, non-perishable foods, fresh milk, eggs, potatoes, bread and a frozen turkey are delivered to each household in the program.

In 2017, the program also added paper goods to the package, which is an item that cannot be purchased with food stamps. More than 150 volunteers took gift vouchers to purchase specific gifts for each child in the household.Van De Carr not only wants to help the LCCT, but also take an anti-bullying message into schools.

“My home life as a kid was bad and kids picked on me at school,” he said. “I believe that people don’t know what others are going through. I was 8 or 9 years old and I stole a magic act from a kit at a toy store. Yes, I know that stealing is wrong, but I learned how to do that magic trick and I made friends. It’s why I want to give back.”

Comedy has always been a coping mechanism, Van De Carr said.

“It ended up turning into a career. The world has been so upside down these days, and again, I say we don’t know what others are dealing with. If I can entertain others and make them laugh, that can be huge. I want to change their entire day.”

Southeast Editor Kellie Houx can be reached at kellie.houx@mycouriertribune.com or 389-6630.

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