By Brandon HENSLEY
La Crescenta Presbyterian Church was rocking last Friday night – at least more than usual. It is true the church holds a Sunday service with Christian rock music, but this was on a new level, all for a worthy cause.
The bands Future of Forestry and IAMWE came together on the last night of their summer tour and performed inside the church, which recently installed a new sound system.
Both bands had booths set up selling their discography, T-shirts and posters, but the night was made to shine light on Children’s Hunger Fund, which is a non-profit organization based in Pacoima that reaches out to children and families in need all over the world.
Fred Martin, communications director for the Fund, could be seen wearing a black shirt with the word “iPak” on the front. That, he said, is to get people to ask about the Food Paks.
Food Paks are 20-pound boxes of nutritious food that get delivered to homes in need. In a particular area, a church might find a family that is starving. The Food Paks are then sent to the church, and the church gives it to the family personally, which may result in a relationship being built.
“They’re always asking for help,” said Martin of the churches. “They’ll find us.”
Children’s Hunger Fund also has locations in Chicago and San Antonio. “We’ll build a network in an area and just really support them as much as they can. … We found great need in Chicago, and so we started building relationships there,” Martin said.
Martin added that they get around 20,000 volunteers in Pacoima each year. Anyone can help, be it homeschooling moms, churches or retirees. Volunteer days are Thursday and Saturday.
LCPC’s director of communications Brent Kuszyk said the children’s ministry at the church has visited the Fund’s warehouse before to help volunteer, so, “I contacted them and said, ‘Let’s do a benefit concert.’”
Kuszyk had the idea of doing a classical concert inside the warehouse, but it worked out better at the church, targeting a younger demographic. There were several older looking people in the audience, but the turnout was mostly younger.
“I want to show the community we’re not your grandfather’s church,” Kuszyk said, while adding the church realizes that the 18-to-32 demographic can get lost sometimes in trying to find a church and that the name has a lot to do with it.
“I just think … a lot of the thriving mega churches are nondenominational. So if you say ‘Presbyterian’ it already represents [an image],” he said.
Count Future of Forestry as a fan of the venue, at least. Lead singer Eric Owyoung, whose father Del is on the Fund’s board of directors, told the audience after the first two songs, “This is the most beautiful place we’ve ever played in. When we walked in here we were in awe.”
Martin said the band had been wanting to do a benefit show for Children’s Hunger Fund for some time. The band’s sound can be described as “ambient rock,” drawing comparisons to Coldplay, U2 and Owl City.
In any case, the audience had a good time, and an important organization received some needed attention.