Those involved with Columbia County Cares hope to instill the spirit of giving Monday by holding a Christmas benefit concert to help provide food for those in need.
"First of all, of course we're going to give some really needed funds to help Columbia County Cares and to get food," said Lou Reda, the director of the food pantry. "The other thing is that I'm hoping that people will recognize what Columbia County Cares means to the community."
The concert will begin at 6:30 p.m. at Christ the King Lutheran Church at 4232 Evans to Locks Road. Traditional Christmas music will be provided by choruses from Lakeside Middle School and Greenbrier and Lakeside high schools. The schools have held food drives, and collected canned food will be donated to Columbia County Cares, said Linda Luoma, an event coordinator and administrator at Christ the King Lutheran Church.
Jeff Freehof, the pastor of Dunns Chapel United Methodist Church and the owner of the Garlic Clove Italian Eatery, will sing the Christmas song We Three Kings .
The idea for the concert started after Denise Pike, Lakeside Middle School's chorus director, was told by a pupil about the need for food this time of year, Luoma said. From there, a food drive began, and other area schools were contacted for their participation.
Reda said he feels blessed that his church and the nonprofit organization are coming together to organize the concert.
"One thing that really got me excited is that it's for Columbia County Cares, which is near and dear to my heart, but it's at Christ the King, and that's where I attend," he said.
The event is free but guests are encouraged to either make a donation or bring canned food.
"If anybody wants to come, donations are preferably a canned good or nonperishable items that can be used for Columbia County Cares to pass out at Christmas time for Christmas dinner," she said.
Though the church's sanctuary can seat 200 people, Luoma said more guests can fit. Dessert will be served after the concert.
Luoma said she would like for people to walk away from the concert with "the spirit of giving at the holiday season."
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