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Hope against hunger: 50 artists to perform in concert to benefit New Mexico food banks

The Chicks is one of more than 50 musical acts to perform as part of the “Food for Love” concert, benefiting New Mexico food banks. (Courtesy of The Chicks)

The word is out about “Food for Love.”

That excites Jo Harvey Allen.

The online concert was organized by country singer Terry Allen and his actress wife, Jo Harvey as a benefit for New Mexico food banks. The couple resides in New Mexico. More than 50 performers are donating their time to the cause, which has picked up national attention. Recently, Rolling Stone wrote about the event and David Byrne mentioned it in his weekly newsletter to millions of fans.

“Our dream was to spread the word about hunger in New Mexico,” Jo Harvey Allen says. “It’s beyond our wildest dreams.”

The lineup includes Jackson Browne, Lyle Lovett, David Byrne, The Chicks, Nathaniel Rateliff, Robert Earl Keen and Steve Earle.

According to Allen, special guests include Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, former Gov. Bill Richardson, former Sen. Tom Udall, George RR Martin, Ali MacGraw and Hampton Sides.

The virtual concert will take place from 5 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 13, and will be streamed through Food for Love’s Facebook and YouTube pages.

The concert is free, but viewers will be encouraged to donate to the New Mexico Association of Food Banks. Donations can be made live during the event or any time on the “Food for Love” website.

Robert Earl Keen will perform as part of the “Food for Love” benefit. (Courtesy of Richlynn Group)

“Food for Love” will benefit all five of New Mexico’s food banks – Roadrunner Food Bank in Albuquerque and Las Cruces, The Food Depot in Santa Fe, the Community Pantry in Gallup, the Echo Food Bank in Farmington and the Food Bank of Eastern New Mexico in Clovis.

New Mexico resident MacGraw jumped at the chance to offer support for the event.

“It’s such an important issue,” MacGraw says. “The most important thing I can add is that literally every dollar makes a difference. When you realize that $1 equals four meals, the impact is there.”

MacGraw says she learned from an early age to help the community.

“My parents were artists, and we didn’t really have money,” MacGraw says. “Every dollar counted in our household. This is event is making us part of the solution.”

A resident of New Mexico for 25 years, the award-winning actress has immersed herself in the local community.

Like many, she’s witnessed how the COVID-19 pandemic and associated record unemployment has exacerbated New Mexico’s hunger issue.

As one in three New Mexico children and one in five adults face food insecurity, New Mexico’s food banks are struggling to keep up with the overwhelming need.

“I have this dream that this state could take this insane moment in our history and be able to turn it around,” MacGraw says. “We’re in this together. I love that Terry and Jo Harvey Allen were able to get musicians together to build something bigger than ourselves. I really believe that we all could be a better interconnected community. We live in an extraordinary place. No one should go without food and it’s happening too often.”

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