Food pantry fundraiser Sunday

“The concert is the pantry’s only fundraiser,” said Dave Belew, who has organized and emceed the concert from its inception. “The money raised provides a substantial portion of its budget.”

The Open Door Pantry was founded more than 30 years ago by the late Mildred Whitehead.

According to Dave Schul, president of the Pantry’s board, the pantry has served thousands of needy people since its inception in 1981.

“Its mission is to help in an emergency, temporary basis and to teach self-help to those in need,” Schul said.

The pantry operates on a budget of $125,000 a year, but eschews United Way funding, although United Way helps them with bookkeeping.

Otherwise, the Open Door Pantry relies solely on private donations, most of it coming from an annual concert that has become a Hamilton tradition.

Since the first concert in 1992, more than 150 different individuals and musical groups have donated their performance to the cause, Belew said, and he is excited about the slate of performers this year.

Vocal performers on the program include Connie Baesel, Alexander and Laurin Sprague, the Trinity Episcopal Church Choir, OK Journeymen Quartet, the Hamilton Fairfield Symphony Chorale directed by Paul John Stanbery, and the Kennedy Heights First Baptist Church Male Chorus

Cellist Jade Kurlas, two-time winner of the Hamilton Fairfield Symphony Orchestra’s Edward Kezur Scholarship for young musicians, will also perform.

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