By YASMINE LAASRAOUI
The annual Performathon hosted by the Music Teachers of Hyde Park (MTHP) raised $845 for the hunger programs at the Hyde Park and Kenwood Interfaith Council.
The two-day recital held at Montgomery Place, 5550 S. South Shore Drive, on June 8 and 9, and the Blackstone Library, 4904 S. Lake Park Ave., on June 8, showcased teachers and students from several schools, including Ancona, Daystar, Kenwood Academy, Lenart, Morgan Park, Murray, Ray and the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools. Their donation was made possible through resident sponsoring of the performers.
The Performathon held by MTHP was set in motion by Elaine Smith in the 1990s. Currently an active member of MTHP, Smith first initiated the recital event in order to raise money for a grand piano at the Blackstone Library. After three years of fundraising for the library, “homelessness became a more visible phenomenon” in the community, according to MTHP piano teacher Constance White, and the organization began donating funds to the Hunger Programs at the neighborhood’s Interfaith Council.
The Hyde Park and Kenwood Interfaith Council has maintained a strong historical presence in the community since its founding in February of 1911. From offering job training during the Depression in the 1930s, to assisting Japanese-Americans after the Second World War, and playing an active role in the Civil Rights Movement, the Interfaith Council now runs a community food pantry and open kitchen through their hunger programs.
Its mission, to “provide free and nutritious food to residents in need without prejudice or discrimination,” continues to serve Hyde Park and Kenwood’s disadvantaged with its fully volunteer staff and community donations.
The food pantry, located at Hyde Park Union Church, 5600 S. Woodlawn Ave., and the Soup Kitchen at Kenwood United Church of Christ, 4608 S. Greenwood Ave., welcome cash contributions as well as non-perishable foods, personal hygiene products and used clothing that is still wearable.
For more information on the Hunger Programs and donations, visit hpkifc.org.