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The holidays are a time for giving. I’m sure many of us dropped money and/or food into a bucket this season as a heartfelt gesture to help those in need. Now that the holidays are over, we need to remember that there are still plenty of disenfranchised people that are hungry, let alone homeless. Please watch our Video of the Week, “Something Ain’t Right,” by JP Soars featuring a song off his new CD, Full Moon Night in Memphis. “This song is really special to me and is about a very relevant issue in everyone’s city,” say JP. “We hope that we can bring some light to the homelessness issues everywhere. We could use all your help here to help us spread the word by sharing the video.”

There are also many blues-related events held throughout the year that help raise awareness, funds and food for those in need. Some of these include the Safeway Waterfront Blues Festival in Portland, Oregon, which is produced by the Oregon Food Bank. The July 2014, four-day festival raised a whooping $1,114,004 for the Oregon Food Bank who’s mission is to fight hunger and its root causes throughout Oregon and Clark County, Washington. The 28th annual Safeway Waterfront Blues Festival will be held July 2-5, 2015.

The Pittsburgh Blues Festival held its 20th annual Blues Festival in July 2014 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The event is always free with a bag of non-perishable food for the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. The festival has raised over $2 million so far to fight hunger. Simply put, the Pittsburgh Blues Festival helps the Food Bank feed thousands of people at risk of going hungry.

The Little Walter Foundation was established in 2007. The Foundation aims to help keep children safe and off the streets in the Chicago area via music industry education by creating programs for them in the creative arts, including music, animation and video. Little Walter’s daughter Marion heads up the Little Walter Foundation in South Holland, Illinois.

The AimLoan.com San Diego Blues Festival (http://sdbluesfest.com/) was founded in 2011 and the proceeds benefit the Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank. In just three short years, sponsors and festival goers have helped contribute nearly 10 tons of food and more than $225,000 to help the Food Bank fight hunger in San Diego County, California.

Also in the San Diego area is the Taking Music & Arts to The Streets program which is co-sponsored by the nonprofit, Photocharity, and Blues Lovers United of San Diego (who provide music instructors). Each Sunday, free music lessons, instruments, dinner, hygiene kits and clothing are offered to disenfranchised San Diego youths who have almost nothing but their dreams. Other various Photocharity events, sponsored by founder and photographer Jeffrey Sitcov, feature blues artists as well as artist memorabilia for fund-raising auctions.

If you know of any ongoing or upcoming events or blues-related organizations that focus on helping the hungry and homeless, please drop us an email with the event or organization name, with city, state and a web address and we will share with our it readers.

Happy New Year and here’s to helping others with the blues get on their feet.

Your ever-grateful editor,

Michele Lundeen

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