Originally Published: October 18, 2011 9:52 p.m.
The Coalition for Compassion and Justice plans a weekend supporting national "Make a Difference Day" by honoring a man who has made a difference in the Prescott community.
On Saturday, CCJ will present its first Compassionate Service award to longtime Prescott resident, Ron Barnes, for his contributions to the Prescott area.
Of Barnes, Gerry Garvey, CCJ executive director, said, "Ron has been a huge advocate in the community for people living with poverty. Ron takes these issues on with passion."
One particular problem Barnes has confronted in recent years is hungry children, so he instituted the Hungry Kids project that provides food for children on weekends when they are not in school. "A number of our kids in Prescott and Humboldt district schools had no or little food on weekends," he said, so project volunteers gather on Fridays to pack food Hungry Kids receives at cost from Prescott Unified School District's Food Services.
Summer presents a problem, because when school is out, children who have breakfast and lunch on federally subsidized programs may go without enough food. As a result Hungry Kids developed a plan for these children and this past summer fed 450 youngsters a day in Prescott, Barnes said.
In addition to Hungry Kids, Barnes founded Prescott Area Leadership, spearheaded community gardens in Prescott and Prescott Valley and has served on a number of boards and commissions, including the Prescott Center for the Arts, formerly the Prescott Fine Arts Association, and the YMCA.
When children don't have enough to eat, the nutritional deprivation "affects families now, the children's future and the stability of our future," Garvey said, adding that Barnes "has been a personal mentor to me, too," because of his philanthropic work.
"I am very honored," Barnes said of the award he will receive Saturday. "It's CCJ's first award and really recognizes a lot of people who are working on these projects - not just me."
The presentation of the award will be the highlight of "A Concert for Compassion - A Celebration of Caring in Our Community " that begins at 7 p.m. at Trinity Presbyterian Church, 630 Park Ave. Tickets are $15 and will be available at the door. All volunteers in the community will get a $5 discount as a way for CCJ to say "thank you," said Tom Agostino, CCJ event planning and production director. For more information, call Agostino at 830-0607 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The evening will also feature music by Cosy Sheridan, TR Ritchie and Women in Song.
Sheridan is a contemporary folk artist who writes her own songs, Agostino said. She is especially known for "Botox Tango," which has a humorous twist. She's "poignant, funny and perfect for a concert of this nature," he said.
Sheridan describes herself as a songwriter and performer whose repertoire includes a lot of satire coupled with more serious songs that reflect the past - "taking classic myths and putting them into a modern context."
Ritchie is Sheridan's musical partner, who plays bass guitar when he accompanies Cosy and guitar when he is performing solo and is an intricate part of their performance, she said.
Women in Song comprises four local women who played together in concerts this summer, and decided to stay together, Agostino said. They added three more to their ensemble. Women in Song brings to the audience "a lot of sound," he said. "It's like a choir with seven beautiful female voices."
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