During her years at university in Victoria, B.C., west-end musician Jessica Stuart said she was no stranger to food banks.
“I had a part-time job on the side and I was doing a full course load,” she said. “All of my time was consumed, I couldn’t do more, but the kinds of jobs you get in university don’t pay that well.”
She had support from family in terms of tuition, but the rest she was dealing with on her own, so the food bank helped her stay fed while she studied.
Having moved to Dundas and Ossington five years ago and with her music career taken off, she is pulling together a concert fundraiser for the Daily Bread Food Bank featuring her own folk jazz trio called the Jessica Stuart Few, along with two other bands – Radiohead tribute band Idioteque and electro pop singer Adaline.
As a singer, songwriter and guitarist, who also plays the Koto, a traditional Japanese stringed musical instrument, Stuart said she is involved in half a dozen music projects around Toronto – mainly with the Jessica Stuart Few, but also Idioteque, The Histrionics and The Mutiny against Luke Roberts. She also sings in a couple of choirs and with another jazz trio called The Off Beat.
A couple of years ago, the Jessica Stuart Few were asked to join a food bank fundraising concert and Stuart said she has had it in her mind to organize a food bank fundraiser ever since.
“In my mind I always wanted to do a bigger, better, more successful ‘for the cause’ event,” Stuart said.
The timing worked out to do the fundraiser this year because Stuart isn’t currently on tour and has had the time to plan the event.
The Feed it Forward event will also feature live painting by Marc O’Brien. The paintings that arise from the event will be sold after the event the proceeds will also go to the food bank.
“A lot of people have the idea that they want to help out for the holidays, but they don’t exactly know how, but plenty of people go to concerts and love music and art, so this is a really easy way to do something great for the community,” she said.
All of the funds raised, with the exception of the cost of poster printing, will go to the Daily Bread Food Bank, which supports about 170 member agencies.
“I am just really hoping we can get a great haul out of this,” Stuart said. “I am pretty confident it will be fairly successful, but it would be nice to present (Daily Bread) with some full food boxes and a big wad of cash.”
Feed it Forward takes place Wednesday, Dec. 12 at The Drake Underground, 1150 Queen St. W. Admission is $10 or $5 with two or more non-perishable food items. Doors open at 8:30 p.m. and the first 50 guests to arrive will receive gift bags with music, gifts from an artisan bakery and from the music store Long and McQuade.