Several local bands will perform in the Feed the People 2011 concert this weekend to raise money for the Southside Community Ministries food pantry.

Several local bands will perform in the Feed the People 2011 concert this weekend to raise money for the Southside Community Ministries food pantry.

Throat Culture, Oswald and the Herringbones, Lake Wilburn, Any Questions and others will take the stage from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3, at St. Paul United Church of Christ, 225 E. Gates St.

Chili, coney dogs and cornbread will be served from 4 to 5 p.m.

Admission is free but cash donations are encouraged, said Linda Langhorst, a volunteer and board member of Southside Community Ministries (SSCM). For every $1 the pantry receives, it can get $8 worth of food from the Mid-Ohio Foodbank.

“Food is a great donation but money goes so much further because we can buy it at such a reduced cost,” she said.

SSCM is run entirely by volunteers, so all donations go to those in need, Langhorst said. The organization had served 37 percent more people through July, with a sharp increase occurring over the past several months, she said.

“To be honest, it’s true all over the place,” she said. “Everybody’s serving more folks.”

To put it in perspective, $1,400 a month gets the pantry 12,000 pounds, or six tons, of food, said Craig King, operations director for the SSCM. That doesn’t include 800 to 1,000 pounds in fresh produce, which is offered free of charge from the Mid-Ohio Foodbank.

“We’re moving a lot of food through there,” King said. “The needs are really different now. Almost every month, it seems like we’re setting a new record.”

Once a week every month, the pantry provides a three-day supply of food to clients. Walk-ins are accepted, King said. Clients also can contact HandsOn Central Ohio, formerly FirstLink Columbus, which is a phone service that puts people in touch with organizations that provide food.

King said the SSCM runs a “choice pantry,” where clients can select their own items while volunteers help them create a balanced diet.

Six churches supply most of the money for the food, but they’re being stretched thin, too, King said.

“It’s hard to keep going back to the congregations,” he said. “What we’re having to do now is reach out and have fundraisers, like the concert coming up.”

Local bands are giving a free concert for the food pantry for the second year. Last year, organizers used social media and word of mouth to let people know about the show, Langhorst said.

“We didn’t know what to expect the first time,” she said. “We didn’t even know if anyone would show. It was a phenomenal success.”

gseman@thisweeknews.com

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