Local string band, The SLO County Stumblers, will headline live-streamed benefit concert and album release party benefitting the Estero Bay Kindness Coalition’s ‘Bags of Love’ food program for local school kids and their families.
School may not be in session but that doesn’t mean a pressing problem of food insecurity for many students has gone away, and a local non-profit group is asking the public for help with its mission of making sure kids have enough to eat.
The Estero Bay Kindness Coalition, which was started about 2-years ago by Cayucos’ Bobby and Denise de Lancelotti, is holding an online musical concert and fundraiser to benefit the Coalition’s efforts to provide children and their families with groceries every week during the Coronavirus Pandemic.
Dan Clement, who along with his wife Jude, volunteers with the Coalition, said that during school the non-profit organization sends local school kids home on Fridays with a backpack filled with food donated by the community.
The kids bring the empty backpacks back to school on Mondays, where volunteers collect them and the process repeats at the end of the week. The program is dubbed “Bags of Love.”
“This program began when teachers in our local schools noticed that some students were showing up at school on Monday mornings unable to fully function because they were not getting enough to eat at home during the weekends,” Clement said.
The pandemic response, which in mid-March closed schools indefinitely, understandably affected the program.
“When COVID-19 hit,” Clement said, “we began delivering groceries directly to the homes of more than 200 students in need who attend local elementary and middle schools and their families. The number of food-insecure families continues to grow, with no sign of abating any time soon. Our organization lacks the resources needed to keep up with demand.”
The Clements are sponsoring a live-streaming concert fundraiser to help buy food for the families in the program, set for noon to 3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 15.
The concert will feature a live performance with Banjer Dan, a local banjo picker extraordinaire, and the SLO County Stumblers, an old time American string band.
The concert will be held at the Pozo Saloon, and streamed live online. See: https://ticketsauce.com/e/stumblers/preview for information and a link to the show.
The fundraiser includes a raffle for donors with some great prizes — two nights at the McCall Farm B&B in Cambria; dinner for two at Robin’s Restaurant in Cambria; Moonstone Cellars Wine; and hand-crafted kitchenware from Kehoe Iron Cookware in Los Osos. Any donation will automatically enter you in the raffle for these prizes.
The concert coincides with the Stumblers’ release of their first album, “All the Good Times,” available on vinyl, CDs and digitally (see: https://slocountystumblers.bandcamp.com/releases).
The band features fiddler Casy Meikle, guitarist Stuart Mason, banjo player Daniel Bohlman, and Jerry James on bass. According to the band’s website, “The Stumblers play hard-driving old time fiddle tunes and spirited songs, heavily influenced by the golden-era string bands of the 1920s and ‘30s.”
Though the live stream is free, you must register beforehand, see: https://ticketsauce.com/e/stumblers/tickets. All donations are welcomed.
“We have been doing home deliveries for 90 plus families with two bags of groceries and a bag of fruit and vegetables for the past 16 weeks. The need is greater than the resources we currently have. Every dollar we fundraise goes directly back into feeding the community,” the de Lancelottis said in an email.
With the Clements sponsoring the event, all proceeds will go into the program. According to the Coalition, a donation of $80 will buy enough food to feed one family for a month. The goal of the fundraiser concert is $5,000.
When school’s in session, Bags of Love feeds kids at Baywood and Monarch Grove Elementary Schools in Los Osos, Cambria Elementary, Cayucos Elementary, Del Mar in Morro Bay, and the Morro Bay Montessori-Charter School (located at the old Morro Elementary). It’s also in the Cambria and Los Osos Middle Schools.
Every Wednesday and Thursday teams of volunteers assemble at the program’s Morro Bay and Los Osos food pantries, where they unload trucks, unpack boxes, load shelves, pack grocery bags, and load the bags into cars and vans for delivery.