By Keith Loria, Vienna Patch
David LaMotte and Christopher Williams headline Jammin Java benefit show for Our Daily Bread
Looking for ways to help those in need, especially during the holidays, can be daunting.
But even simple gestures can make all the difference, said internationally acclaimed singer David LaMotte, who played a show Sunday at Jammin’ Java in support of the Fairfax-based non-profit Our Daily Bread, Inc.
“Those small connections are how the world really changes,” LaMotte said. “I open up the newspaper some days and see problems that seem too big to even begin to work on, but the truth is that those overwhelming numbers represent individual people, and we don’t have to fix the whole world to have an impact on individuals. The small changes really do matter.”
“Giving Hope for the Holidays” was a night of music to benefit Our Daily Bread, which provides emergency food and financial assistance to struggling families. More than 2,000 families are asking for help this year, the organization said. Its recent Thanksgiving food drive helped the largest number of people since the organization began.
“We have hosted events with David LaMotte and Christopher Williams for years. To combine these two great performers with a great cause like Our Daily Bread is an awesome opportunity for everyone involved,” said Jonathan Brindley, co-owner of Jammin’ Java. “Our Daily Bread is a great organization working to help people in our area. The hope is that through events like these, funds will be raised and awareness will be brought to a worthwhile cause.”
Singer/storyteller Christopher Williams started things off as an opening act, and his acoustic guitar was in full force, as he too talked about the importance of helping others through his words and songs.
LaMotte has released 10 CDs and performed more than 2,000 concerts in 47 states and on four continents. In addition to being an award-winning songwriter, he is also a children’s book author, the co-founder and volunteer director of the non-profit organization, PEG Partners, and an advocate for schools in Guatemala, where he works to improve learning environments.
“I’ve known Dave since he started playing and I have kept up with him through the years, and I thought about the connection of Our Daily Bread with his social activism, and thought this concert would be a cool joint effort,” said Lisa Whetzel, Executive Director of Our Daily Bread. “One of Dave’s messages is to try and change the world, but to do it locally and in small increments and trying to address people’s basic needs of food and housing and be on the first wave to get them back on the road to self sufficiency.”
At the concert, LaMotte stressed the importance of connecting to people and your neighbors, and played a long set that was inspirational and fun to listen to.
“I think what connected all of us with it was our organization really feels the connection with the neighbors to neighbors,” said Christina Garris, food program manager for Our Daily Bread. “We can’t do what we do without the support of the community and I thought it was a fantastic event.”
Earlier in the day, LaMotte, a Rotary World Peace Fellow, presented a free workshop at the George Mason University campus in Arlington titled, “World Changing 101: A workshop and discussion on citizen activism.”
One of those who attended the event was moved by LaMotte’s social activism and came to the concert to lend his support.
“I didn’t know much about him, but he’s not just looking to become a famous musician, he actually is using his music to try and do some good in this world,” Brian McMurray said. “I really enjoyed what he had to say, and what he had to sing.”
At the event, Our Daily Bread held a 50/50 raffle, but it wasn’t really about raising money as much as it was raising awareness.
“For us, there was no agenda other than the music,” Whetzel said. “We weren’t looking at this as a fundraiser, we just wanted to bring awareness to the hunger issue. Hopefully this concert will generate more talk about taking small steps to make changes within our own community.”
Our Daily Bread is still seeking donations for its holiday meal and gift program. If you are interested in contributing, please call (703) 273-8829.