Thursday, March 1, 2012

Orchestras Feeding America

This weekend's Harrisburg Symphony Concert - Saturday at 8:00, Sunday at 3:00 - can be more than just a musical experience for you, as you listen to Philippe Quint play the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto or to the splendor of Mozart's "Jupiter" Symphony and the exquisite beauty of Faure's music for Pelleas & Melisande.

That's because March symphony orchestra concerts around the country have become a way of helping your local symphony support the local community with something that may strike the average concert-goer as “unmusical.”

A food drive?

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For millions of Americans, hunger is a reality. According to recent studies, one in six people in this country will struggle with simply putting food on the table. Over the last three years, orchestras have stepped in to help. The Orchestras Feeding America food drive, launched by the League of American Orchestras in partnership with Feeding America in 2009, has harnessed the collective energies of orchestras nationwide to help relieve hunger. Since the inaugural food drive, some 250 orchestras in all 50 states have partnered with their local food banks to raise more than 350,000 pounds of food. Many of these partnerships have turned into year-round collaborations, with orchestras collecting for food banks and becoming a regular source of much-needed food throughout the year. Other orchestras have been inspired to initiate food drives on their own at various times during the year. This activity is in addition to the food drives and other charitable activities that some orchestras have been engaged in for many years. All of this spotlights the central roles that orchestras occupy in their communities—and the impact they can have beyond the music they play. – Robert Sandla
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Orchestras Feeding America 2011 saw 100 orchestras collect 86,000 pounds of food bringing the total for the last three years to over 350,000 pounds. This is an incredible effort that has now involved 250 orchestras in all 50 states – thank you for being part of it. Please know that your efforts help spread the word about how and why orchestras are so necessary to their communities, beyond providing great music. Though these statistics may seem outdated, with the current economic situation hitting many people in communities across the country, it’s still a viable concern.

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In 2008, 49.1 million Americans lived in food insecure households, 32.4 million adults and 16.7 million children.

In 2008, 17.1 million households were food insecure, increased from the 13 million households in 2007.

In 2008, households with children reported food insecurity at almost double the rate for those without children, 21 percent compared to 11.3 percent.

In 2008, 2.3 million households with seniors were food insecure.

Feeding America provides emergency food assistance to approximately 4.5 million different people in any given week.
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Ann Huntoon, Executive Director of the Central Wisconsin Symphony of Stevens Point, said, “There is always a need in our area to obtain food for the people who lack food! The number of children in our county who qualify for the reduced-price lunch program is astonishing. The response to the food drive was slow prior to the concert weekends, but we were absolutely overcome at the donations brought in for the concert weekend. The food drive caused the donors to mingle longer in the lobby prior to the concert and to see the results at intermission.”

So join us and support the Harrisburg Symphony’s Food Drive by bringing non-perishable items to the Masterworks Concerts this weekend, March 3rd & 4th and the Capital BlueCross Pops Concert, March 17th & 18th at the Forum in downtown Harrisburg.

When you donate, be sure to pick up your 'ticket' - you could win.


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