Food for Love concert raises more than $700k to feed New Mexico's hungry
Organizer still hopeful final total will eclipse $1 million
- The virtual concert featured performances by the Chicks, Jackson Browne, Rodney Crowell, David Byrne, Lyle Lovett and others.
- Donations have poured in from such locations as Ireland, Italy and Dubai.
- At least 35,000 people viewed the virtual concert on a streaming platform.
FARMINGTON — Last weekend's Food for Love virtual concert that raised money for organizations across New Mexico that feed the hungry has generated more than $700,000 in donations so far.
The five-hour event, which featured virtual performances by The Chicks, Jackson Browne, Lyle Lovett, David Byrne, Steve Earle, Rodney Crowell and Shawn Colvin, as well as Farmington's DDAT and Chevel Shepherd, among others, went off without a hitch and drew viewers and contributions from around the world, according to Terry Allen, a Santa Fe-based artist and musician who helped organize it.
"We were all just kind of knocked out by what kind of experience we had and just the generosity of the way people responded to the whole idea of hunger," he said.
Allen described the event as a success from every angle.
"We've been getting donations from Europe, from all over," he said. "We've been trying to figure out since (Monday) how to count them. We really didn't know how to count Euros."
Organizers were hoping the event would raise at least $1 million for its recipients, which include the Economic Council Helping Others Inc. of Farmington, which operates a regional food bank and preschool, and provides emergency assistance to residents for rent, utilities and funeral expenses, among other items.
Allen said he was optimistic that goal still would be met, explaining that donations were still coming in on Feb. 16 from people who had streamed the concert, which had remained available on the Food for Love website through midnight on Feb. 15. Between Facebook and YouTube viewers, the concert had been watched by at least 35,000 people, according to concert organizers.
"We had several sizable donations (Monday)," he said.
Allen said donations came in from all over the United States, as well as from people in Ireland, Italy and Dubai.
"It was everywhere, which is great because hunger doesn't really have a boundary," he said. "Everybody relates to that regardless of their political leaning."
Allen said the concert was the largest fundraising event he had ever been involved in.
"It just kind of dominoed from the start," he said.
The Texas native, who was among the featured acts, called on many of his fellow artists from the Lone Star State to take part, and they didn't disappoint him. Joining the lineup for the show were such icons of the Austin music scene as Joe Ely, Butch Hancock, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Bruce Robison, Kelly Willis, Charlie Sexton and Alejandro Escovedo.
"You hardly got it out of your mouth, and they said, 'Count me in,'" Allen said, describing his efforts to recruit performers for the show. "Nobody had any qualms. A lot of them gave it to their own PR people and told them to spread it."
Organizers say 100% of the proceeds raised from the concert will go to the New Mexico Association of Food Banks, which includes not just the Farmington organization, but the Roadrunner Food Bank in Albuquerque and Las Cruces, the Food Depot in Santa Fe, the Community Pantry in Gallup and the Food Bank of Eastern New Mexico in Clovis. Together, those organizations serve every county in New Mexico.
Donations are still being accepted at foodforlove.org.
Mike Easterling can be reached at 505-564-4610 or email@example.com. Support local journalism with a digital subscription.