Compassionate mission

By Allan I. Ross

Concert series benefits Lansing’s needy

As we approach the end of another Lansing-area festival season (just waiting on you, Oktoberfest), temps are already beginning to plummet; it won’t be long before concerts in the park are replaced by Christmas tree lots. But as sugarplums start to dance in some people’s heads, others are focused on humbler aspirations. Such as, “Where am I going to sleep tonight?” “In the last year, the Volunteers of America shelter on Larch Street in Lansing served nearly 4,200 people, a 50 percent increase over the previous year,” said Kathie Kuhn, atlarge board member of East Lansing’s Peace

Education Center. “They also served over 130,000 meals, which is up 70 percent since 2007. As those numbers climb, donations have been going down. Something needed to be done.”

Kuhn said she thinks traditional fundraisers are too “confrontational,” so she organized the Music with a Mission Fiesta!, a free threeday concert and activity series on the State Capitol lawn and steps. It runs Thursday, Friday, takes the weekend off and wraps up Monday. Cash donations and blankets, food and hygiene items will be collected for the VOA shelter, and while you drop off your contribution, you get to enjoy a little music.

"The support of these artists has been extraordinary," Kuhn said We’ve been adding acts every day. It’s incredible to see how many people are willing to help .”