By Marianne Mueller


ROCKTON – The best of Gospel music is returning to the Hononegah High School Performing Arts Center. Hours of toe tapping, inspirational music will fill the room on Friday evening, April 15 at 6:30 p.m.

This lively, fun and worthwhile event is organized by the Rockford District of United Methodist Men, and is in the eighth year.

Returning to the stage is the Triumphant Quartet (the 2015 Southern Gospel quartet of the year), and the Alleluia Quartet who has been well- known  for over 25 years in northern Ill., and in southern Wis. What sets this show apart is that the proceeds are divided up to benefit six different hunger agencies.

The Belvidere, Boone County Food Pantry provides food, clothing, and other essential care items thorough programs.  The clothing program allows families to obtain appropriate clothing they may need as they make monthly visits. Currently they serve over 1,200 people per month in food distribution alone. The Belvidere, Boone County Food Pantry also recycles cardboard, metals and clothing.

Started in 1994, The Old Stone Church Food Pantry of Rockton serves the Stateline area by offering food with a gallon of milk, medical and health advice, in addition to Christmas and Thanksgiving baskets. Children of families who have difficulty buying groceries on the weekends are serviced in a unique manner. Through a backpack program children from Rockton Grade School and Stephen Mack receive backpacks full of basic foods to take home with them. The program has been ongoing since 2011. Currently the pantry services over 58 families per week. They have been in existence for over 22 years.

Sitting in the heart of Rockford, the Cornucopia Food Pantry sees an average of 1,500 households per month. The pantry expands well beyond providing food.

Housed in the Cornucopia Pantry are a food bank, the pantry, and a soup kitchen. Through pantry resources information is made available on homeless shelters and leads on health services such as free dental clinics, and free treatment centers. In 2014, Zion Lutheran Church partnered with the Rockford Cornucopia Food Pantry.

Society of St. Andrew – Meals for Millions was formed in 1979 by two United Methodist Pastors. The purpose of the mission is to take a stand against hunger.

Ministries of the Society of St. Andrew deliver food at a cost of about a penny per serving. Meals for Millions is original in the fact that food is home grown in farmers’ fields, salvaged and is distributed to food banks, food kitchens, and to other agencies.

These efforts have resulted in over 187 million servings of food a year have been provided to people in need. Past statistics show years ago 9.8 million pounds of produce entered into 33 states through a potato and produce project.

The Rock River Valley Pantry stays true to a mission of assuring food for those in urgent need. They have been in operation 41 years. Currently they are serving 7,000 clients per month. Homeless, elderly, families, working poor, people with disabilities and children receive much needed help. Since its inception, more than 1,200 pounds of food have been distributed. Every month over 2,700 boxes of cereal plus 14,000 cans of fruit, and 21,000 cans of vegetables which are placed in food boxes.

The Pecatonica Food Pantry is found in the Pecatonica Methodist Church. Through the years an increased has been seen. After they started in the late ’80s, they gave away seven bags of groceries and nine food boxes. In past holiday seasons an excess of 130 large laundry baskets of food went to people in the community.

Tickets for the 2016 Harmony for Hunger concert are $10 each. All seating is reserved and may be purchased the night of the show at the will call area. Donations for hunger relief will be taken at the show.

Startling statistics show that 840 million people globally experience hunger; many may be suffering from malnutrition. Thirty-five million Americans live below the poverty line causing them to often rely on food assistance programs. About 20 percent more food is produced annually than is needed to provide for nutritional needs of every person on the planet.

Twenty percent of food that is commercial grown in the United States is left behind in farmers’ fields to rot due to market forces. One in five people will be seeking emergency food assistance in American cities where there is no food available to give to anyone.

These reasons and many more are behind the mission of the Harmony for Hunger concert! Enjoy a full evening of music while giving back to others. Tickets for the 2016 Harmony for Hunger concert are $10 each. All seating is reserved and may be purchased the night of the show at the will call area. Donations for hunger relief will be taken at the show.

In the past seven years money raised from the past Harmony for Hunger concerts has totaled $75,000. Thousands of people locally have received much needed assistance through these efforts!

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