Will Rock For Food
by Pril Stevenson

I’ve never been one to “help” a cause by standing around with a sign. Actually, I can think of no bigger time waster than protesting with some dumbass sign. I’m a fan of going to the thing or person that needs help and busting out a check, a wad of cash or offering my time or talents somehow. Because i do have a ton of time, and there are many things I’m good at.

The Blues Society takes up a good chunk of my time. Around this time of year, it takes up more than usual. In December we hold our benefit concert. It takes a couple of months (About six, actually) of wrangling and planning to get this juggernaut underway. This year we had to switch dates at nearly the last minute. We had no word from one of the bands until nearly the last minute. We were out until the Thursday before the concert still gathering things for the raffle. rockfood.jpg

Our beneficiaries this year were the local crisis center and the food bank. Last year it was a different one, and the food bank. I don’t know yet what it will be for next year. We start looking around October for a good one. We decided the crisis center was a good one for a lot of reasons. It’s almost full this time of year. They need cash to help gather documents for the women in the center (like social security cards, driver’s licenses, etc.) because when you jam out of a bad situation, you are lucky, most of the time, to have the kid or kids and a pair of shoes. The center needs food, all year round. Blankets, towels, soap, shampoo, books, toys for the kids, sometimes important medication that got left behind, transportation fare. And of course, around Christmas, they need gifts for the kids who are there.

And the food bank, not just ours but your local one and any one in any town you may pass through on your way to visit family, the food banks always need food, and money to help gather and distribute that food.

The crisis center is full around Christmas and Thanksgiving. There is probably nothing more satisfying to an abusive asshole than to boot out his wife/girlfriend and the kid at a time when families should be together. I know there are some landlords who get a chuckle out of evicting people around Christmas, too. I had one, once.

So we hold these benefits at Christmas every year. This year, despite the hitches we had coming at us in November, everything worked out. We had GOBS of cool shit to raffle off. The bands all sounded fantastic (thanks to my smart half running the sound board, and their own talent of course). Our jam band took the first set and had a great time, and then we spent the whole night squeezing money from people.

In the end, we had an overflowing 50-gallon trash can full of food, a coffee can full of cash for the food bank, and close to $2000 for the crisis center. It was more than we raised last year, and next year, we’ll raise even more.

And all year long, we’ll play for organizations who are raising money for other things. That’s one of the things we do besides get drunk on Thursdays and talk shit to each other on stage at the jam.

Pril is tired but she got thru it and helped some people out. Good job, Pril.



That's what I'm talking about. Helping out for real.

I don't protest for several reasons. First, 9.999999999 times out of 10 I'm on the opposite side of whatever's being protested against. OK, maybe 9.998 times out of 10. Second, I, like you, think standing around with a sign is a huge waste of time.

However, there's one time I can think of where a protest worked and I would have taken part. There used to be a group of Code Pink protestors who'd gather near VA hospitals or something like that to protest the war. So, a group of anti-minded veterans and patriots staged an anti-protest across the street from one of the Code Pink protests. They held, "Thank you," "God Bless America" signs and the like. Well, it worked. Haven't had issues with Code Pink protesting at those hospitals again.

Aside from that, I can think of little else I'd pick up a sign and picket for.

But I've volunteering time for Toys for Tots next year because it's amazing.


I'm volunteering ... that is.


I've done a few of those shows. After reading your article, I have to find out who the hell we were supporting when we did it.


I think we sort of purposely avoid politically associated fundraising, too. One of the great things about the blues society is that we all have extremely different ideas about politics and its the music that we have in common. I, at least, could not be dragged kicking and screaming to gig at any political deal, ever, regardless of who was doing it.


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