Monday, September 1, 2008

Hip Hop Against Hunger

By The Funkadelic Relic

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To organize an event to raise money to help agencies to feed hungry and homeless children in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

September is Hunger Action Month...The Hip Hop Community Must Act Now!

A Hip Hop Against Hunger Dance-A-Thon
Students in K-12 schools would solicit pledges from donors (all donations resulting from the pledges would be collected by the agency that would benefit from the proceeds from the event). People who attend the event could also bring canned goods or make voluntary donations the day of the dance-a-thon.

Why is this necessary?
Unfortunately, since about 2000 not many people are finding good paying jobs for the most part, especially in the state of Michigan where we live.

For the month of July 2008, the Michigan Unemployment Rate (seasonally adjusted) was 8.5%. up 1.4% since last year at the same time. The total number of payroll jobs for the month of July 2008 was 4,213,000. Over 5,000 jobs were lost in the state during the month of July. Since last year 49,000 jobs were lost. Don't believe it? Peep the links below.

Michigan Employment Snapshot

Historical Unemployment Rates

Michigan Seasonally Adjusted Job Levels by Industry

Current Michigan Unadjusted Job Levels by Industry

Historical Job Levels by Industry & Area

One of the most pressing problems we are facing in our state is the hunger. Children are not receiving the proper nutrition daily and the community as a whole must come together and try new and innovative ideas to help solve this serious problem. During the Great Depression
of 1929 the conditions were very similar to the conditions today in 2008. Home foreclosures, high consumer and business dept, ill regulated markets and natural disasters.

Food pantries, homeless shelters and other agencies that help those who need it the most to survive and feed their famiies are feeling a pinch like never before and anything that can be done to raise money to help fund these agencies is a necessity during these most trying times. During a visit recently to the Heartside District in the city of Grand Rapids an idea to help one agency in
particular that provides services to the homeless, Dégagé Ministries, provides the following services:

Referral Desk

Hygiene Services

Basic Needs

Support Groups

State ID Program

Legal Services

Pet Therapy

Job Center

If you turn on your television, look in the newspaper, listen to radio or browse the internet during Labor Day weekend you will see a lot of advertisements for the The Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon that airs every year on national television on Labor Day.

The same concept to raise money could be used to help an agency in our local area like Degage Ministries. Instead of a telethon where people only call in to make donations an event using the power and influence of Hip Hop Culture, specifically the element of dance could be organized to involve children in our community using their energy in a positive way in a positive setting to help other children and have a lot of fun at the same time. It really would be a great event if available resources were utilized properly and the promotion of the event was correctly implemented.

There are very talented people in the city of Grand Rapids and the West Michigan area who are willing to help. They should be allowed to do so with support, not interference. The Circle Junkeez Crew, of Holland are ready to do what they can to help feed the kids of our city who deserve so much more than they are receiving right now.

Check Out The Circle Junkeez Crew on YouTube!

How would this event work? The principle is so very simple and would involve the entire community. If the city and public schools were involved the event would be a huge success. The March Of Dimes puts on "walks" all over the country where people who volunteer to walk collect pledges from others who "sponsor" them to participate and all proceeds of donations go to the March of Dimes. The only difference here with this event would be that each participant (preferably children in elementary to middle school) would collect pledges (a flat fee for participating in the dance-a-thon). They could dance for as long as they want to and the pledges collected would go to feed the hungry. Directly to the agency that needs help. An event like this would also promote physical fitness and get some of our kids up off the couch, out from in front of the television and the video games. This makes too much sense right now. Just click the link:

Obesity In Children And Teens

The best time to schedule an event like a Dance-A-Thon to feed the hungry and homeless children in our city would be around the Thanksgiving and Christmas Holiday. During this time of the year people will feel the most compassion for those in our neighborhoods who need the help. People seem to be more willing to give and donate things during these 2 holidays. The rest of the year people don't seem to care as much. There are days when school will be out and our children will need something positive to occupy their time. This is it. It can work with the proper planning, support and participation.

Sponsorship: The key to encouraging participation in the event.
Corporate sponsors would provide prizes which would drawn randomly during the event. Participants (dancers) would be eligible for these prizes and the winners would have to be present to win. The sponsors would also provide financial support to promote the event on television, radio and in print. Of couse all of the websites of the sponsors would also have links in place for people who just want to donate. Examples of potential prizes donated by sponsors that would be appealing to kids ranging in age from 5-13 would be Gift Certificates to Sporting Goods stores, Movie theaters, Video Games, Skateboard Stores, Skate Parks, Toys R Us, Circuit City...the possibilities are endless and appealing!

Support of City, County and State Governmental agencies is another key to success:
Mayor George Heartwell served for 14 years at Heartside Ministry, a program for the homeless in Grand Rapids. Mayor Heartwell has interacted with the Hip Hop Community in our city before to find solutions to the problem of youth violence. If anyone understands how serious this problem is in our community, Mayor Heartwell does.

As administrator of the site I interact with young people all the time who want to do something positive with their talent and energy. Given the opportunity they usually deliver every time. The most important thing about an event like a Dance-A-Thon is that it will be so much fun! Kids want to help. Look at some examples of what our young people are doing given the proper direction and support.

Welcome To Kids Against Hunger
Dance-A-Thon: Fundraising Ideas-What Works

If you also believe that this event would be worth trying to make happen hit me back by email at The Hip Hop Community wants to make a difference if given a chance. This is only one possibility of positive ways that Hip Hop Culture can be utilized to make a difference in our community.

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