FOODSTOCK: Celebrate the spirit of the ’60s while helping curb hunger in Tacoma

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PLEASE NOTE: Foodstock, an outdoor event, was originally scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 15 but due to impending rainy weather, it has been moved one week ahead, to Sunday, Sept. 22

By Matt Nagle

matt@tacomaweekly.com

On Sunday, Sept. 22, LeMay-America’s Car Museum (ACM) will be the site of a family-friendly and meaningful event to help tackle hunger in Tacoma. It’s a free show called Foodstock, and everyone is invited. 

This outdoor event was originally scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 15 but due to impending rainy weather, it has been moved one week ahead, to Sunday, Sept. 22. 

Presented by the Weekly Weedly, America’s first weekly cannabis newspaper, Foodstock was created in the loving spirit of Woodstock. Since September is known nationally as Hunger Action Month, Foodstock is all about taking action here in Tacoma by bringing the community together for a day of music, food, fun and hunger awareness. There is no cost for admission – organizers ask only that you bring non-perishable food items to help fill the bins for Tacoma Adventist Community Services food bank.

GOOD FOOD, GOOD MUSIC, GOOD CAUSE

Food trucks, vendors, a beer garden…everything to make for a great day will be at Foodstock along with music by two of the South Sound’s most beloved musicians:

The Randy Oxford Band:Winners of more than 25 music awards in Washington State, Randy Oxford Blues showcases their sophisticated brand of Chicago-style musicianship, daring arrangements of blues classics, Americana, soul, R&B, funk, rock, Motown and more. The band is led by Washington State Performer of the Year, Randy Oxford, whose prowess on trombone and ability to ignite an audience’s enthusiasm have become legendary. Every show features multiple vocalists and instrumentalists making for a high energy and very entertaining performance.

The Jerry Miller Band:Jerry Miller is a true Tacoma native and internationally acclaimed guitar legend. A member of the 1960s San Francisco band Moby Grape, he is #68 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time. Miller is a “musician’s musician,” considered a master of the art form by both his peers and music enthusiasts alike. Eric Clapton called Miller the “best guitar player in the world.” Robert Plant cites him as a major influence for Led Zeppelin, which, along with the Grateful Dead, covered Miller’s songs live and on record.

Support for Foodstock came from numerous organizations and individuals including Tacoma cannabis shop World of Weed, which made a generous financial contribution to the event and will donate 5 percent of all edibles sales to the food bank for the month of September.

Foodstock gates open at noon and runs from 1-7 p.m. LeMay-America’s Car Museum is located near the Tacoma Dome at 2702 E. D St. The event will be held on the lawn, so be sure and bring lawn chairs. 

LOVING HEARTS, HELPING HANDS

Working for many years at a warehouse location on Portland Avenue East, the Tacoma Adventist Community Services food bank has been critical in serving the needs of low-income clients across Tacoma. This food bank is unique in that it caters largely to people on restrictive diets due to medical conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer. 

Leslie Badgley has been its executive director for more than 40 years. She noted that Foodstock will not only help bring in much-needed food; it will serve as a platform to spread the word about the food bank’s work. 

“Foodstock will help because it will make people aware of hunger,” she said. “It will really bring public awareness to the community.” 

A big, public event like Foodstock also helps attract volunteers, as Tacoma Adventist Community Services food bank is completely driven through a modest and committed team of loyal men and women. There is a constant need for folks to help unload and load trucks and pallets on delivery days, and drivers are needed as well to take food to those who need it.

As Badgley put it, “Our volunteers come from all walks of life, including people in the streets, to help us unload. We never know who’s going to show up,” but everyone is welcome with open arms and a lot of gratitude.

Badgley said that this year, the food bank is focusing on developing a sound diet plan for those on dialysis, working with nutritionists and longtime partners Emergency Food Network, Northwest Harvest and Food Lifeline to receive as much healthy foods for clients as they can. 

“They can’t have some of the fresh veggies that others can have so we’re finding out more about that to get them the best things to eat,” she said. 

Badgley and her crew are currently on the hunt for a new location, one that offers much more square footage to store more food so that the food bank could serve clients more frequently. 

Then there’s the reality of rising crime at the current location. The Puyallup reservation has seen a dire increase in shootings lately. On Aug. 13 at the 2100 block of East 38thStreet, five people were hit with bullets, including several children, and two young men were killed. On Aug. 19, two men were injured in a shooting within blocks of the Emerald Queen Casino. It has also been reported that the Puyallup Tribe’s administration building on Portland Avenue was forced to close on a business day due to suspicious activity there, and the building was also hit with bullets during a drive-by shooting last month. 

“If we sold our building, we couldn’t buy anything better than what we’re in so we need to get some fundraising and donors to help us out,” she said, noting that they need something at ground level and near a bus line.

Tacoma Adventist Community Services food bank serves about 250 families a week. “One of the things we hope for in the future is to have more casework time to make sure no one is falling through the cracks because they don’t have someone to bring food to them,” Badgley said.

The food bank, and Badgley more so, suffered a painful loss on Aug. 7 when her husband Charles “Bryan” Badgley passed away. A couple of real high school sweethearts, Leslie and Bryan married within days after they graduated. This coming June would have been their 50thwedding anniversary. 

Bryan was the jack-of-all-trades at the food bank ever since its beginning. “He was our only source of income for many years,” Leslie said. In a real partnership, he would work to bring in money and she would work at the food bank. Bryan bought gas for the drivers, make deliveries on holidays, spend his vacation days repairing the building – his “honey do” list never ended.

Bryan always remembers the names of everyone who came to the food bank, and he brought much humor and mirth to the place. A real prankster, he loved to tease his friends and challenge them with his knowledge of trivia and history. He was a true Seahawks fan too, and at Christmastime he would be out in front of stores playing holiday favorites on his flute to help raise money for the food bank. 

“I sure miss him. He was always just there. He was a remarkable man,” his devoted wife said. 

To honor Bryan’s memory, his family is asking for contributions to Tacoma Adventist Community Services, P.O. Box 11291, Tacoma, WA 98411.

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