DERBY LINE — Last week the Hungerfest Concert was held at the Haskell Opera House, raising a total of $31,635 to help support NEKCA’s food shelf.
The concert marked the end of this year’s Hungerfest drive. Other fundraising efforts, including the Hungerbowl, radio, newspaper, and Facebook challenges, brought in an additional $5,090, bringing this year’s donation total to $36,725.
The concert featured local singer-songwriter Tod Pronto, who opened up for legendary musician Jonathan Edwards.
Community partnerships played an important role in helping Hungerfest break donation records this year. Once such partnership was with AutoSaver Group, one of New England’s largest auto dealer groups.
“Joe Patrissi and Kathy Metras from NEKCA met with us a couple of years ago and outlined the immense problem of hunger in the Northeast Kingdom,” Ronney Lyster, owner of AutoSaver Group said. “Both Abel and I felt there should be no reason, in a country with so many resources, that our neighbors should ever go without the basic needs of life. We both believe in giving back to the community and there’s no better sense of satisfaction than helping make sure kids and their parents have enough food on the table.”
Mr. Lyster and Abel Toll of AutoSaver Group decided this year to create an annual event that could motivate people and other local companies to donate to Hungerfest, rather than just making a donation as they have done in the past.
“What an amazing few months,” Kathy Metras said. “Without Ronney’s community leadership and generosity we would not have come close to raising this kind of awareness or money. Not to mention the new community partnerships that have been formed.”
Tod Pronto got the crowd going with a short opening set that showcased some songs off of his new album, “It Can’t All Be Wrong.” He also performed a touching new song he recently wrote about his mother who passed away earlier in the year.
“We felt it was important to showcase a local talent opener for Jonathan Edwards,” Lyster said. “Tod Pronto was the logical choice considering his involvement with the fundraiser.”
Jonathan Edwards, the famous singer-songwriter and musician best known for his 1971 hit single “Sunshine,” closed out the evening with an intimate performance of songs that spanned his entire career.
In between songs, Edwards talked with the crowd about his career and the way songs came about, treating the audience to an intimate look at his life and music.