Food Pantry fundraiser mixes folk music and poetry
Share Food Share Love Food Pantry, located at Faith Lutheran Church, 3801 Madison Ave., has been in Brookfield for five years. They serve between 300 and 350 families each month, but that number has increased during the pandemic, according to Linda Dumas, a board member, who spoke at a live fundraiser for the organization at Purpose nonprofit, which is an agency of the Greater Chicago Food Depository.
“Everyone needs help from time to time,” she says. And the number of families going to the pantry for help has increased during the pandemic. “
Last week, The Pantry hosted a creative Zoom fundraiser, in partnership with the nonprofit Music and Potlucks for an evening of entertainment with folk musician Mark Dvorak, who lives in Brookfield.
The theme of the Monday April 19 program was “The People, Yes”, based on Carl Sandburg’s 1936 book of epic poetry.
In addition to reading Sandburg’s poetry, Dvorak performed folk music composed by Sandburg from his 1927 “The American Songbag”. Dvorak explained that Sandburg would give a poetry reading and end the night with one of his folk songs.
Last week, the banjo singer performed a variety of Sandburg songs, from silly to sublime. The more than 20 present moved their heads to the sound of the music and, at times, sang, although they were silent.
Dvorak’s admiration for the two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and musician was evident.
“I’ve been reading Carl since high school,” he says. “His book ‘The American Songbag’ was the first published collection of folk songs in America. It’s been on my shelf for years and years. “The American Songbag” was a key resource for the early years of folk revival in the 1950s and 1960s. “
Since April is National Poetry Month, Dvorak suggested the Sandburg-themed program. He said he picked up a copy of “The Collected Poems of Carl Sandburg” about 25 years ago. Dvorak said he had “found [Sandburg’s] the images and the rhythms are totally contagious. “
“I stumbled upon ‘The People, Yes’ in the early 2000s and was really struck by it and decided to develop a program of songs, poems and stories based on it,” Dvorak said. “Carl is an Illinoisan and has spent several years in the Chicago area. He and his wife lived for a short time in Elmhurst before returning to town. He is an interesting person and an important artist. I am amazed at how much his verses and songs resonate all these years later.
The event was free and was sponsored by the Songs for Peace & Justice fund.
Music and Potlucks has hosted over 40 events in four years and Dvorak is their resident artist. Dvorak is a recording artist, working on his 19th CD, as well as a touring musician and longtime teacher at the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago.
To donate or learn more about finding help at the Share Food Share Love Food Pantry, which serves 15 villages in western Cook County, visit sharefoodsharelove.com. Donations, such as diapers, baby wipes, paper towels, toilet paper and laundry detergent are accepted in the pantry. These items, and monetary donations, are more needed than food, which can be purchased at a reduced price from the Greater Chicago Food Depository.