Widespread Panic helping local effort to feed children

Widespread Panic helping local effort to feed children

May 24th, 2014 by Yolanda Putman in Local Regional News

Widespread Panic

A rock band scheduled to play at the Riverbend Festival wants to give more than a performance.

Widespread Panic wants to promote positive change in Chattanooga.

The group has two charities: one with musical instruments in school, the other with food.

The band told Friends of the Festival that it wanted to assist in a cause. So Friends of the Festival called the Chattanooga Food Bank and devised a plan to help efforts to alleviate childhood hunger.

Widespread Panic features Chattanooga native Todd Nance. The late Michael Houser, who helped start the band in the early 1980s, also was from Chattanooga.

The food bank serves 20 counties in Southeast Tennessee and Northwest Georgia.

About 1 in 4 children in those counties doesn't have enough food to eat - that equates to about 65,000 children hungry, said Maeghan Jones, CEO and president of the Chattanooga Area Food Bank.

They are people we may not realize have basic needs, Jones said.

Friends of the Festival helps more than 70 charities a year. But this is unique, said Chip Baker, Friends of the Festival executive director, because it was initiated by a performing band and offers a multilayered opportunity to give.

The Chattanooga Area Food Bank launched a Text-to-Give number to allow concertgoers to text $10 donations to the food bank. Every donation will allow the food bank to provide 40 meals, said Jones.

Donors may text FEED40 to 80888 to give $10. That number will be promoted throughout the festival, Baker said.

An anonymous donor will match all dollars up to $25,000 donated on June 7 when Widespread Panic is scheduled to play.

In addition, Riverbend Festival's website has a tip jar where people can donate directly to the food bank. As of Wednesday, about $1,100 had been donated, said Baker. And Riverbend is donating a booth to the food bank so food bank staff and volunteers can appeal directly for help in ending hunger.

Contact staff writer Yolanda Putman at yputman@timesfreepress.com or call 757-6431.