UA Asked to Aid Tucson Community Food Bank

UA Asked to Aid Tucson Community Food Bank

By Jeff HarrisonUniversity Communications
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Sons of Orpheus (Image courtesy of Gary Smyth).
Sons of Orpheus (Image courtesy of Gary Smyth).

These are tough times for the Tucson Community Food Bank. The sour economy is being blamed for both a slowdown in donations and a corresponding increase in the number of families needing assistance.

The University of Arizona community is being asked to help make up some of the difference.

Staff Advisory Council Food Drive

One way is through the Staff Advisory Council's annual holiday food drive. Starting today and continuing through Dec. 17, SAC members will be collecting canned goods and nonperishable food items for the Food Bank.

Anyone donating at least two items will be eligible for a raffle to be held Dec. 18. The prize is a two-night stay for two at the Radisson Suites Tucson, 6555 E. Speedway Blvd. Only one raffle entry per person is allowed.

Donated items can include canned goods such as meat, vegetables and fruit, soup and tomatoes. Cereals, peanut butter, condiments and pasta are welcome as well.

Drop-off locations include:

  • Career Services Office, Student Union Memorial Center, Room 411.
  • Gould Simpson, Room 901.
  • University Garage Motor Pool, Building 498.
  • Visitor Center.
  • Nigent Building, main desk.
  • Communicaton, Room 202.

Sons of Orpheus concert

Another benefit for the Food Bank promises to nourish the soul as well as the body.

The Sons of Orpheus, the 40-member men's chorus based in Tucson, will hold its 11th annual concert to benefit the Food Bank next week. The concert is Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the Berger Performing Arts Center at the Arizona School for the Deaf and Blind, 1200 W. Speedway Blvd.

The concert is free, but the audience is asked to contribute nonperishable food and tax-deductible cash donations.

The program will include student musicians from ASDB and the Ukesters, a seniors ukulele club in Tucson.

Grayson Hirst, a music professor in the UA School of Music, will perform a duet with Josephina Gallegos, who plans to enroll at the UA next fall. Hirst calls Gallegos "a discovery with a knockout voice" who sings and plays guitar with mariachi groups, but wants to train as an operatic soprano.

Hirst founded the Sons of Orpheus in 1991 and is the group's artistic director. The chorus performs about 25 concerts a year, and went on its fifth international tour last summer in Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic.

The group also has performed across Italy, in the United Kingdom, Mexico and at the White House, and was recently proclaimed Tucson's Ambassadors of Song by Mayor Bob Walkup.

Most of the group's concerts are for paying audiences, but the members regularly donate their time and talents to charitable causes, such as the Community Food Bank and for the Patronato de San Xavier, the group working to restore San Xavier del Bac, the historic Franciscan mission south of Tucson.

Hirst said last year the ASDB concert collected more than a ton of food and more than $2,000 in cash for the Food Bank. The concerts are traditionally held midweek, but he said he's been pushing to have it on a weekend date to draw a larger audience.

"We have raised lots of money and lots of pounds of nonperishable foodstuffs in the past and each year we challenge ourselves to do better. I think we will do better this yearm" he said.

"We believe in and get a lot of soul satisfaction bringing in tons of food and lots of dollars. It is one of the things Orpheus does, giving back to the community."

The Sons of Orpheus and the Tucson Boys Chorus also will perform benefit concerts tonight and Thursday night for the Mission San Xavier del Bac.

Founded in 1976, the Community Food Bank provides food to almost 200,000 people annually by working with 300 agencies, schools and churches in Tucson, Ajo, Amado, Green Valley and Marana.

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