Buddhist Temple Musical Fundraiser for Auburn Food Bank Raises $ 9,360 for Backpack Program

When the White River Temple fundraising music journal for Auburn’s Food Bank Backpack Program for Underprivileged Students debuted online on November 20, food bank manager Debbie Christian was watching.

If you ask her about it, you are sure to get a smile.

And Christian is right. Between the $ 5,360 raised and the $ 4,000 that the Temple Community Fund and the Friends of the Temple contributed in matching funds, the net was $ 9,360.

They are not little potatoes.

“It is lifesaving for this program,” said Christian.

The “Food to Go – Backpack” program provides backpacks filled with single-serving, high-protein, kid-friendly foods on weekends and holidays so kids in the Auburn School District don’t have to worry about anything. not hungry when they cannot access school meals. .

Because these types of foods are more expensive for a person than when bought in bulk, Christian explained, the backpack program costs $ 700 to $ 800 per week to make it happen. For the food bank, that’s a lot of money.

While Christian has maintained the Vital Program using primarily money accumulated from an estate sale gift over 10 years ago, the fund has now shrunk to its last $ 2,000 to $ 3,000. So she wrote grants – United Way has a grant of around $ 5,000 that focuses specifically on the backpack programs. Monetary donations continue to flow in to fill the gaps, and every year in July and August, she asks local businesses to focus their aid only on food for the backpacks.

“We’re trying to take out any donations that we can get, which is free food that can go in,” Christian said. “But if we have to buy, I have to withdraw from the account. That $ 9,360, however, probably gives us another three years or so. ”

Vivian Alexander, a member of the White River Buddhist Temple, first saw the need to support the Endangered Program in the spring of 2021. She approached Temple Sensei Jim Warrick with an idea: an event to raise funds to support the take-home backpack program. He liked what she had to say.

“We found out about this need for these kids, and we found out that it was one more way to help,” Warrick said. “Our Buddhist teaching is that if you serve yourself you will be miserable, but if you serve others it will bring you the greatest happiness.”

Temple members Don Gardner, Kendall Kosai and others began hosting the event in May 2021, with Gardner – former owner of Green River Music in downtown Auburn and a full-fledged versatile musician – recruiting all of them. talents.

“We had a discussion and decided there were a few different ways to approach it,” Gardner said. “One of them was doing a live broadcast and had an auction with it. But we decided because of COVID that making the livestream a real live show was out of the question. So we narrowed it down to a pre-recorded video, and silly, I volunteered to recruit the musical entertainment.

It would feature guitarist, singer and songwriter Bronson Bragg; Voices 4, a vocal quartet from Kent, Washington, composed of Linda Fahlgen-Moe, soprano, Kailey Mutter, viola, Jill Lawrence, viola, and Rae Colburnem, bass; Kareem Kandi, saxophonist; and Take 7 Little Big Band with Stan Hernacki, trumpet, Dave Knecht, trombone, Craig Schwendemen, saxophone, Don Gardner, trombone, Dave Hoskin, drums, John Giuliani, bass, Henry Nielson, piano, Jenny Goebel, trombone, Debbie Jaap , piano, Dan Hendrick, trumpet, and Ron Appel, trumpet.

Gardner stated that all of the above musicians have offered their services for free.

In late August and through September and October, the musicians either contributed their video content or Gardner arranged to record their material. Another important player in the exercise was their technical specialist, Kosai, who did some of the video work and then edited the final video. Gardner contributed all the audio for the remote recordings and voiceovers.

Finding a place to record proved to be a difficult task.

“The original plan was to try and do some of the recording outdoors because of the neutral acoustic properties,” Gardner said. “We had a session in late August and early September, but the weather kind of turned on us and the outdoors was no longer a viable option.

“So we struggled to find indoor facilities, but again, because of COVID, there wasn’t much available. We ended up using the temple for one of the recording sessions and then the owners of the Soos Creek Botanical Gardens graciously donated their barn. We did a lot of the recording in this barn one day with a few different artists, ”Gardner said.

The video is still online, Gardner said, and two weeks ago today it was viewed 143.

“Don and others put together this musical thing, and I’m so thankful that we as a temple were able to come together and be a conduit,” Warrick said.

“Asking for donations through the temple’s online portal was a gentle way to ask, and people responded very well,” said Christian.

Debbie Christian, Director of the Auburn Food Bank