“As I put together some thoughts, the tears begin to flow - this is such a passion for me and I cannot tolerate the thought that a single child would go hungry in the richest country in the history of the world,” wrote Karen Jorgenson, President, Peninsula Community Foundation and co-founder of Food Backpacks 4 Kids.
FB4K is holding its first annual holiday concert, featuring local talent, at Uptown Gig Harbor pavilion on Saturday, Dec. 21, from noon to 4 p.m.
Sponsored by Uptown Gig Harbor merchants and Crescent Psychiatry, the event will accept food donations to benefit FB4K, a community program meeting the needs of hungry students in the greater Gig Harbor area. Volunteers pack and distribute more than 400 backpacks each week in the Peninsula School District.
Headlining the event is the ever popular Wickline Family. Their show features holiday sing-alongs to the sounds of guitar, bass, flute, and hand-clapping and vocals by the Wickline Family and Friends. “If you want down-home family fun for the holidays, it’s the Wickline Down Home Family Christmas Show, appearing at 3 p.m,” said Jorgenson.
In the late 1970’s, long-time peninsula resident Wickline, brought the holiday show to Fox Island where it has played at Nichols Community Center annually for over 30 years. A Peninsula School District teacher for the last 27 years, Bob combined his love for teaching and music as his group toured and performed at over 2000 elementary schools, demonstrating “The History of Bluegrass Music” for the Washington State Arts Commission.
Another notable performer, Mariah Roberts, has been singing in choirs and solo since third grade. A proud alum of the Peninsula High School Choir, she attends the University of Rochester in New York where her goal is to double major in Psychology and ASL. She also takes voice lessons at the prestigious Eastman School of Music. She will be accompanied by Alison Ellis, PHS choir director and music teacher. Also performing among others is the Olalla youth Christmas recital, and the Peninsula Baptist Church choir.
Volunteers come from all over the Gig Harbor and Key Peninsula communities and beyond. Tacoma resident Emily Clark began volunteering along with Josh, a developmentally disabled young man for whom she provides care. Both enjoy interacting with other volunteers sorting food and packing backpacks each week. “This is a great opportunity to introduce Josh to community volunteerism,” she said. Emily’s other community involvement is coaching the girls basketball team at Peninsula High School.
“Not enough can be said about the FP4K volunteers and its donors,” said Jorgenson. “Without their support the program would not survive. Each individual, partner, business, foundation and community service group is an asset to the success of this program.”
FB4K also sponsors a Christmas tree lot on the Key Peninsula benefiting the program. Quality trees at affordable prices are available from noon to 6 p.m. daily. The lot is located at 11607 State Route 302 NW, near Key Peninsula Real Estate, a local sponsor of the program.Hugh McMillan is a longtime freelance writer for the Peninsula Gateway. He can be reached at 253-884-3319 or by email at hmcmnp1000@ centurytel.net.