Area food banks have struggled recently as the need for assistance is growing, while available food items have dwindled. Food for Life 3, a benefit held at Gandy Dancer Theatre Friday night, helped bridge the gap for those in need.
Johnny Cochran and the Trailblazers, a much-loved country band from Lost Creek, took the stage Friday night at Gandy Dancer Theatre in Elkins, performing a concert which benefitted three local food pantries. In lew of an admission fee, concert-goers donated bags of nonperishable foods and personal care items.
"We enjoy playing concerts where folks come together for the benefit of those in need," said Johnny Cochran. "This comes from our hearts, and everyone needs to share with those who do not have enough to eat."
Cochran said this is the third year for this type of event. The band also performs food drive concerts in Webster and Harrison County.
Local food pantries benefitting from the donation of food and other items include the Beverly Food Pantry, Catholic Charities West Virginia and Tyrand Cooperative Ministries. Regional director for Catholic Charities West Virginia Cindy Hammer said she is grateful for the event.
"Each day we are open, most of our food goes out the door to help those in need," Hammer said. "We received about half of a pick-up truck full of food tonight. We are grateful to Johnny Cochran and the Trailblazers, those who came out to the concert to donate food and the sponsors for the event."
Members of Johnny Cochran and the Trailblazers include fiddle player, Cochran; vocalist, Ishah Franks; electric guitar, Mark Hamrick; drums, Andy Currence; keyboard, James Atha; and bass, Lee Stines.
Band member Currence said he enjoyed playing the benefit to help those in need.
"One thing for everyone to remember is you don't have to wait for a special event like this to help others in need," Currence said. "If you have an extra can of food or a roll of toilet paper, take it to your local food pantry and help those less fortunate."
Elkins resident Doug White and his family attended the Friday evening benefit.
"It's a great idea to have this type of fundraiser helping those who are hungry and less fortunate," White said. "We came to help the community and because we really enjoy seeing Johnny Cochran and the Trailblazers."
Sponsors for the evening event include Mike Ross Inc., Mountain Valley Bank, the Seneca Mall and Family Dental along with the Gandy Dancer Theatre.