‘Feeding families, fueling hope’: Interfaith Food Ministry to host virtual concert, fundraiser Saturday | TheUnion.com

‘Feeding families, fueling hope’: Interfaith Food Ministry to host virtual concert, fundraiser Saturday

KNOW & ‘go’

WHO: Interfaith Food Ministry

WHAT: Live Virtual Concert with music performed by Boston Ravine, The Heifer Belles, and The Public String Band, along other special guests

WHERE: Online at https://www.interfaithfoodministry.org or through Interfaith Food Ministry’s Facebook page

WHEN: Saturday Sept. 12, 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

TICKETS: Free event, donations accepted on website

September is designated Hunger Action Month, a month dedicated to bringing international attention to taking action around the hunger crisis. And it is an appropriate time for a fundraiser to help Interfaith Food Ministry.

This Saturday, Sept. 12 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., you can enjoy a free concert online featuring the music of Boston Ravine, The Heifer Belles, and The Public String Band, along with other special guests.

Interfaith Food Ministry Development Director Naomi Cabral said the idea came from one of the members of the bands set to perform: Boston Ravine. “Mei Lin Heirendt held a small fundraiser last year at her church and it was well received. Since we couldn’t do it (live) again this year, we are holding an online event to bring awareness and hopefully raise some money for IFM.”

With the COVID-19 pandemic, the needs of the community have increased, and some modifications had to be put in place. Cabral said, “The need spiked significantly. We were a bit overwhelmed at first, but the whole community has come together to support what we do.” The organization has put safety measures in place. For instance, during pickup, patrons now stay in their vehicle to receive pre-bagged food supplies.

“The need spiked significantly. We were a bit overwhelmed at first, but the whole community has come together to support what we do.” — Naomi CabralInterfaith Food Ministry development director

For a time, the extensive volunteer base of some 450 citizens was hampered, as many of the elders were advised to stay home rather than put themselves at risk of contracting the virus.

“We didn’t want anyone to risk their health, so we asked many of our seniors to take a pause,” explained Cabral. “We were able to get even more volunteers who stepped in to assist, and many of the older volunteers are now feeling more comfortable (with proper safety measures in place). We have about 200 new volunteers this year, which is amazing.”

Working in tandem with the Nevada County Food Bank, those in need can find food pick-ups at least four times a week. Interfaith Food Ministry has also expanded their services to other organizations Cabral said, “We also partner up with other various organizations to make sure their clients needs are met such as with Hospitality House, The Friendship Club and most recently with United Way we have set up a high school pantry to address the needs of the students and their families. “

While Interfaith Food Ministry continues to serve those who come to their Henderson Street address for pick up and fills the new pantries set up with partner organizations, the need for donations is significantly increased. The concert is just one way to raise much-needed funds to continue their mission of “working to reduce food insecurity in western Nevada County” as stated on their website. The organization is dedicated to “feed the hungry, helping to sustain good health and human dignity.”

Cabral has been the development director of Interfaith Food Ministry for just over a year and a half. She said she enjoys working with the community and saw the Interfaith Food Ministry doing a lot of good in the community she lives in and takes pride in making a difference.

“It’s been a challenging year. First it was the energy shut-offs with people losing their food, and then the pandemic which increased need, but it feels good to do something in the same community I live.”

The virtual concert is free, but donations to Interfaith Food Ministry will be very much appreciated. Cabral said, “The bands will play in front of our facility. It’s a really fun idea because the background will be the staples where people can see this is what we do – all of our pre-prepared grocery bags that will be the backdrop to the show.”

Interfaith Food Ministry plans to set up a couple of cameras, and a host will move the event along. There will also be a few speakers including Interfaith Food Ministry Executive Director Phil Alonso and one of the Interfaith Food Ministry clients.

“He will play some music and he wrote a song for IFM,” explained Cabral. “He will share a couple of songs and talk about how Interfaith Ministry has helped him. He’s a busker who plays at Briar Patch and other places. He’s about 80 years old and says if IFM didn’t help him he would not be able to get the nutrition he needs without having to decide what other bills to pay.”

The show runs for about two hours. The link will be available on the website and a donate button will be online at: http://www.interfaithfoodministry.org and on their Facebook page. People can access the concert for free and donations to the food pantry are accepted any time.

“We hope to catch everyone just before dinner,” Cabral said. It is a fitting time to remember to help those who may otherwise go hungry.

Hollie Grimaldi Flores is a Nevada County resident and freelance writer for hire. She can be reached at holliesallwrite@gmail.com.

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