Saturday, January 19, 2008

Did you know....?

Did you know the Niles Township Food Pantry serves about 800 households in Niles and Morton Grove?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Support the Northfield Township Food Pantry w/ Dominicks card

From the Northfield Township Food Pantry website. (this is the local food pantry for Glenview, Northfield, Wilmette, etc)
Dominick’s has joined eScrip, a hassle-free way for organizations to raise funds through everyday purchases made at eScrip merchants. As an eScip merchant, Dominick’s will contribute a percentage of your purchases to the Northfield Township Food Pantry.

Simply log on to and go to “sign up”, designate the Northfield Township Food Pantry as your group to receive contributions, and then register your Fresh Values number. Every time you shop at Dominick’s the Pantry will receive a contribution.

Monday, January 14, 2008

How to write a press release for your Anti-Pov event

So now that I'm done being fan-giddy about the house concert benefit we're doing, let's get back to media advocacy. Say you have an event going on. Great! Now, turn it into a chance to advocate for your cause in the wide world of media. Write up a press release and send it to every news org you can think of that might have an interest in your event. Make it as easy as possible for the reporter to cover it. In other words, make it a clear format (most important info at the top) and do their homework for them. Think up 2 or 3 different interest angles they might use, especially if you have one that is not just plain poverty awareness. (In my case, the House Concert angle seems most interesting to people.) Include specific names and contact info for people they might want to interview. Give them websites for research resources. If possible, talk with an actual editor or someone before sending emailing so that it goes to a specific person. Here is my example of a press release with all the personal info taken out for web purposes:

I am co-hosting a House Concert Benefit in Morton Grove on Feb 7th to raise money for our local food pantry. I invite you to consider this upcoming local event for coverage in the ___________. Here are a few interest angles that may interest you:
1) Local residents coming together to help their food pantry
2) Food pantries experiencing a time of unusually high need
3) The phenomenon of house concerts happening in our area (Justin Roth will also be performing in a Chicago house concert series on Feb 8th.)
Please see the summary below for the event details.

Thank you for your consideration!
Event Organizer

Event: Justin Roth House Concert to benefit Niles Township Food Pantry
Description: Nationally touring singer/songwriter and solo guitarist Justin Roth will perform an intimate concert for 30-40 people in a Morton Grove home. 50% of the proceeds will be donated to the local food pantry.
Time: 6:30-9:30PM on Thursday, Feb 7 2008
Place:XXXX Street Address, Morton Grove, IL 60053
Organizer: ccyl 800 XXX-XXXX,

Individuals available to comment at the event:
- Featured musician: Justin Roth
- Director of Niles Township Food Pantry: Her_name_here 800 XXX-XXXX,
- Event organizer: ccyl 800 XXX-XXXX,
- Apprx. 30 attendees, many of whom will be Morton Grove residents

More information resources:
About nationwide decrease in food bank donations:

About Niles Township Food Pantry:

About Justin Roth:

About house concerts

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Justin Roth to play in Morton Grove for Food Pantry benefit

I'm very excited to announce that nationally touring singer/songwriter and virtuoso guitar player Justin Roth is collaborating with me to raise money for our the NIles Township Food Pantry! Whee! This is the sweet spot where self-interest and poverty-fighting cross over! :) I love this musician and can't wait to see him play up close and in my friend's living room. Go now and hear him at his myspace page!!! NOW!!!

OK, babbling excitement-time is over. Back to blog. Because it's a private house party, we're doing invitation only, so I won't post all the details here. But, in case this can inspire others to do this kind of event, this is the gist. Hedy (my friend with a much bigger living room than I have) and I have invited Justin to play a house concert in her living room. He discounted his usual performance fee so we can charge $15 per person and have 50% go to our food pantry. We need a minimum of 30 people to make that work for him, so our cause will get at least $225 for the night! We're doing a very low-key, BYOB event and will just provide some light appetizers and soft drinks. Folks will sit around informally on her sofas and on the floor. If you do this, expect to invite about 100 people to make that number and ask them to consider donating even if they can't make the event. Many people have expressed interest in sending $ anyway and even asked to make food donations as well. Don't forget to send a little press release to your local paper to build more awareness about the cause. I'm even going to send one to our NPR affiliate here because the concert would make such a great sound-bite. Justin was savvy enough to mention that I should offer up the "house concert as cultural phenomenon" angle in case I'm talking to someone who doesn't want to cover poverty at the moment.

I think this could be a start of something great. Already people are asking me if I can make this a house concert series! I'm sailing over the moon at that prospect, thing at a time, yeh?