Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Bruce Springsteen inspired me to give

Joan Radovich, guest blogger and the winner of the Food Depository's VIP ticket drawing, with Bruce Springsteen.
I know exactly when I became a fan of Bruce Springsteen’s music.  It was freshman year, new student week, at Northwestern University.  We listened to Bruce’s “Born to Run” and “Darkness on the Edge of Town” albums over and over again.

I also know exactly when I became inspired to donate time and money to fight hunger in this country.  It was 1984.  I was listening to the radio in Dallas, and a DJ mentioned that Bruce had donated money to the local food bank after a concert there.  That gesture, and Bruce’s words and music, have inspired me and thousands of others to help the less fortunate.

Since moving back to Chicago, I’ve become a volunteer and donor for the Greater Chicago Food Depository.  My husband and I bring our kids, who now are 10 and 8, down to the Food Depository to volunteer. As a family, we’ve put labels on cans of green beans, packaged cereal and pasta in family-size bags, and packed bags of food for school kids so they would have something to eat over the weekend.

A few weeks ago, I received an e-mail that the Food Depository was holding a drawing for VIP tickets to Bruce’s September 7 concert at Wrigley Field.  I entered on a hope and dream – but mainly because it was time for us to begin making our annual donation.  Three days before the concert the Food Depository called to tell me I had won.  I couldn’t believe it.  Two days before the concert, they called to say there was the possibility for a “meet and greet.”  What?  One day before the concert, they asked if I would be willing to present Bruce with a t-shirt and framed photo on behalf of the Food Depository.  Willing?  I was over the moon!

Shortly before the Friday concert, one of Bruce’s assistants escorted my sister and me, and a couple who also had donated to the Food Depository, to the visitors’ dugout at Wrigley Field to meet Bruce.  We were waiting in a nondescript hallway when Bruce strolled in. When I mentioned 1984 in Dallas, he remembered that that was the year he and his band began to advocate for food banks, starting in Pittsburgh.  I also mentioned that my husband and I make a point to take our kids to the Food Depository to volunteer, and that their favorite CD was “The Rising.”  

Bruce couldn’t have been more gracious - both during our meeting and during the concerts - about his passion to fight hunger.  During both shows at Wrigley Field, he repeatedly championed the work of the Food Depository and food banks nationwide.  Not only did it make me proud to be a volunteer and donor of the Food Depository, it inspired me to help even more.  Bruce’s good deeds, generosity and music have inspired generations to “take care of our own.”

- Joan Radovich

The Greater Chicago Food Depository raised more than $96,000 thanks to the Springsteen Fund Drive. Special thanks to everyone who entered the drawing, made a cash donation and our generous VIP donors. And thanks to Bruce Springsteen for his longtime support of food banks nationwide.   

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