By Sarrah Peters
A community concert and food drive will be held on January 25 at 3 p.m at First United Methodist Church of Gadsden, located at 115 South 5th Street.
The concert is open to the community and free with the donation of non-perishable and canned food items. The “Champions Against Hunger” Food Drive will benefit the Etowah Community Food Bank. The Salvation Army will send a truck to collect the food collected by the event.
The concert will feature varied musical pieces, including sacred music, and will be presented by an ecumenical choir, a violinist, a brass quintet and five musicians from local churches. Three organists, Benny L. McNair from First United Methodist Church of Gadsden, Glenn Day from Episcopal Church of the Resurrection and Lana Cornutt from 12th Street Baptist Church, will perform. Rhonda Robinson from First United Methodist and Linda Robertson from 12th Street Baptist, both pianists, will also perform.
The concert will last about an hour and 15 minutes. It will include all types of music and will end with the Hallelujah chorus.
The Music Director of First United Methodist, Russ Waits, will direct the ecumenical choir. Choir rehearsal will be January 20 at 6 p.m. All are welcome that would like to sing in the choir.
Jan Smith, Executive Director of the Etowah Community Food Bank, says that our area continues to have a great need for food to help the hungry.
“The organization Feed America has reported that 1 in 5 children and 1 in 6 adults will need food assistance this year,” said Smith. “Alabama’s food needs continue to be higher than the national average.”
According to Smith, last year the Etowah Community Food Bank served approximately 4,500 families. They continue to need support from the community to provide nonperishable food items like canned meats, canned soups with meat, canned vegetables, peanut butter, oatmeal, rice and dried beans.
The idea for this concert and food drive came from Benny McNair, the organist at First United Methodist. McNair began playing music for church when he was only 10. He has since spent over 50 years playing music in church. According to McNair, the acoustics of the newly restored sanctuary at the church are of such good quality that he wanted to share them with the community.
“I thought, what a great thing to let these churches come together,” said McNair.
He also saw the opportunity for the concert to help the community with the food drive.
“It preys on my soul to think about kids going to bed hungry,” said McNair. “As a community we have so much, we are so blessed, but we take it for granted. It’s time to give back.”
The event has made McNair hopeful for future events involving multiple local churches.
“It’s going to be a great, great day,” said McNair. “It may be a forerunner for even bigger events in the future.”
For more information, visit www.fumcgadsden.org.