Philanthropy comes in many forms to Community Health Programs: from financial contributions, from volunteer time with our programs, and from “out of the box” initiatives. Local singer/songwriter JoAnne Spies, a volunteer with CHP’s once-monthly mobile food bank, matched her creative talent with efforts at CHP to help families in need of emergency food.
“Writing a song is how this began for me,” said JoAnne, a longtime area musician. “I was in a program about mindful eating, and a song came to me, “As I Sit Down to Eat.” Soon, she found herself seeking ways to help at local food banks, and she was surprised at what she found. “I was clueless about the number of food banks in the Berkshires and clueless that the need was growing. Once you learn that, you ask, ‘what the heck can I do?’”
Soon, JoAnne explored how she could help, and she landed on Project Milk, a CHP fund that helps families facing short-term food emergencies. JoAnne put her music and her music connections to work organize a “Pantry Dance” benefit on March 31 at the Lenox Community Center. The Rev Tor Trio signed on for the night and JoAnne played music from her recent CD, “Ecstatic Dances.”
“It was the worst weather night of the year, but people showed up!” she said. Honors students from Lenox Memorial High School showed up to help and people danced all night; people who couldn’t come sent checks. The event raised $400 “on a night when no one should have gone out!” JoAnne said.
JoAnne said the Pantry Dance was a great initiation for her to make a difference. “I’m learning the ropes and I want to do more. And there is a whole world of people who want to help.”