Sounds like a great idea Musicians give hunger top billing

By on November 14, 2012

By: MELISSA HUNNEFIELD Record Express Staff, Staff Writer

Many know Todd Fulginiti as a Lititz Borough Council member, or as a music teacher and choral director at Kissel Hill Elementary School.

What many may not know about the unassuming musician and composer is that he also volunteers with an organization geared towards feeding the county’s needy.

A chance encounter with a homeless, begging woman on a wintry New York City street made a huge impact on Fulginiti’s life. Passers-by completely ignored the woman, and Fulginiti was deeply affected by this.

"The things that impressed me were how cold it was that day and how frail the woman was. She definitely looked like she needed to be in a hospital," Fulginiti remarked. "At the time, my wife was helping at a local food bank, and I realized that simple, local actions on my part could help to prevent others from falling into the situation of the lady I saw on the street."

Not long after, Fulginiti was speaking with a musician friend, Tom Hayden — a mail carrier from Brownstown — who was considering starting up a local non-profit to help deal with the problem of hunger in Lancaster County.

"I’ve been involved in the Stamp Out Hunger food drive that letter carriers conduct in May each year," Hayden said, "and what brought it all into focus for me was discovering that despite the ample amount of food collected that day, it doesn’t last more than a month or month and a half and that the food banks desperately need the ongoing assistance to continue to provide the services to families in our very own communities that have suddenly found themselves in very difficult circumstances."

"The issue of hunger is almost an out-of-sight, out-of-mind subject that a lot of folks don’t consider simply because it isn’t something the average person sees every day," Hayden continued. "but it’s out there and it’s very serious."

Fulginiti and Hayden formed FoodStock, dedicated to helping the hungry in Central Pennsylvania by staging a variety of fundraising events. They give the proceeds to the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank to disperse where needed.

FoodStock is sponsoring a musical fundraiser, ThanksgivingBack, on Nov. 21 at 8 p.m. at the Lancaster Elks Club, 219 N. Duke St. This "party with a purpose" will feature music by Lancaster blues/soul band D.C. & Co. along with special guests Dreamweaver & E-Man. In addition to the great sounds, the event also includes door prizes, raffles, snacks, sandwiches and a cash bar.

Hayden is a member of opening act Dreamweaver & E-Man, while Fulginiti has been performing with D.C. & Co. for almost 20 years.

The event’s name, ThanksgivingBack, also has its roots in the local music scene. ThanksgivingBack originated in 2001 as a benefit organized by Dave Costarella of D.C. & Co. Over the course of 10-years, the benefit has raised over $30,000 for local charities.

FoodStock was originally envisioned as a one-day music festival, but right now the organization is focusing on hosting several smaller events.

"This is our first event," Hayden said, "but we’d like to grow to hosting several events throughout the year."

The duo envisions a FoodStock 5K run, an all-day music festival and co-ops with local farmers to provide organic fruits and vegetables to some local food banks.

"Our goal is relatively simple," Fulginiti said. "We’d like to nurture and grow our nonprofit charity FoodStock into a permanent entity dedicated to providing a source of ongoing help to our community food banks by presenting several diverse fundraising events during the year, preferably events that we can somehow incorporate our love of music into — so folks can donate to a worthy cause and have fun while doing it."

To learn more about FoodStock, or to purchase tickets to ThanksgivingBack, visit foodstockpa.org. Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door. Tickets can also be purchased at Valentino’s Cafe, 132 Rider Ave., Lancaster. Monetary donations may be made online or sent to FoodStock, P.O. Box 53, Lititz, PA 17543. More THANKSGIVINGBACK, page A6