‘Raise Some Cash’ returnsWritten by Michael Stainbrook | | firstname.lastname@example.org
The Man in Black who “walked the line” is coming to Downtown Toledo — in spirit — as the inspiration behind a fundraiser for a local food pantry.
The second annual “Raise Some Cash” concert will take place at 7 p.m. on May 16 at The Blarney Irish Pub & Grill in Downtown Toledo.
The fundraiser will benefit the Augsburg Lutheran distribution center for the Feed Your Neighbor program.
According to event coordinator Larry Meyer, this benefit concert is a critical occurrence for the Augsburg food pantry.
“The need in our community is only going to increase right now,” he said. “Everyone gives during the holidays, then the rest of the year is when [the distribution center] has to scrape to get by.”
Meyer said the theme for this benefit needed to be recognizable and catchy; thus, Johnny Cash became the face of the event. Bands mostly play Cash songs or their songs in his style.
“[Cash] seemed to provide a good hook,” he said. The event organizer said Cash’s philanthropic work as a devout Christian and his iconic nature were also factors in his choice.
The initial “Raise Some Cash” event raised 33 percent of Augsburg’s operating costs, which helped it maintain its reputation as a “food pantry of choice.” According to Meyer, this helps those in need to maintain their dignity while seeking assistance from the church.
“Once [those in need] satisfy requirements, they are given the dignity to select the items that they would enjoy and that would benefit them,” he said.
Meyer said this is made possible by the generosity of the Toledo-area community, which helped Feed Your Neighbor to provide 72,907 packages of food through its 13 distribution centers in 2008. Augsburg Lutheran, located at 1342 W. Sylvania Ave., ranks second among these centers in food provided with 8,897 packages last year.
The May 16 fundraiser features six bands.
“All of the musicians are donating their time by playing for free,” Meyer said. Music begins at 7 p.m. with Locoweed, which plays country-rock music. The second act is The Bridges, featuring Jim Flipiak, who plays in Northwest Ohio on a regular basis.
“[Jim] ripped it up last year,” Meyer said. “He really channeled the Johnny Cash material.”
Kentucky Chrome is slated to play its rockabilly-swing style during the fundraiser. Voodoo Libido, led by John “Porkchop Dupree” Rockwood, then plays. Meyer and Rockwood have worked together on previous fundraisers.
The Flecks will play later in the evening. This Jeff Stewart-led band features local musicians who reunite to play at charity events throughout the region. All of the band members attended Start High School and were a local success during the late 1980s and into the ’90s.
A tentative appearance by Barbara John is also slated. John, who was Cash’s manager for more than seven years, made a stage appearance last year to answer questions about life on the road with the country legend.
The Blarney, at the corner of Monroe and Huron streets, agreed to host the event for the second year. The organizer needed a recognizable, compatible venue to host the concert, and the Downtown restaurant opened its doors.
“When I talked to [The Blarney] about it, they were very enthusiastic to help,” Meyer said.
While there is no set cost to attend the event, a $5 donation is suggested. There is no age requirement to attend, but parents should note the event will run late into the night, with a new band taking the stage each hour on the hour.