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Columns > Mike Gruenberg - In My Life

Published: 2013/12/28
by Mike Gruenberg

Helping Those in Need

In My Life

Don’t know about you, but I suspect that like me, you get phone calls from some charity or receive mail from a number of charities literally every day, especially around the holidays. I have every reason to believe that each solicitation comes with a worthy cause and that the pitch is legit. Maybe that’s a bit of Pollyanna on my part, but in the holiday season, I like to believe that all people have good thoughts and that those with a good life will help others whose lives have not turned out as well as they would have liked.

Gift giving for me these days involves on-line shopping. I particularly don’t like shopping malls during the holiday season since it brings together a lot of people vying for gifts sometimes in a most uncivilized manner. Add to this the incessant playing of “Jingle Bell Rock” and “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” makes me want to stay home and shop by the light of my laptop. I recently walked though a shopping mall with my wife, stepson and grandchild and once I get past the old familiar tunes being played was struck by the abundance of items for sale. We truly live in a society where anything, at any price can be purchased. At the mall neat my house in the suburban Washington, DC area, Tesla has set up shop to showcase their electric car that sells for $100K+ amidst the usual shopping mall establishments. I’ll buy the Barbie doll for Cousin Charlene, a new sports shirt for me, a gift certificate at the spa for my wife for a facial at the spa, hot wheels set for my grandson and the red Tesla. Maybe not!

With all these good things to buy for countless relatives, friends and your significant other, it got me to thinking about the less fortunate especially in this holiday season. I try to give my fair share in donations and participate in community services, but what about those celebrities? Since Jambands is a site devoted to music, I decided to check and see what some music related people were doing to help charities.

Chaka Khan, a 10-time Grammy award recipient who has sold approximately 200 million records world-wide over a four decade career has a unique way to give back something to the less fortunate. Through her website, she sells Chocolate (Chakalates) and candles (Khana Sutra) which you can buy and portions of the proceeds from the sale of those items benefits the Chaka Khan Foundation which supports women and children in crisis. www.chakakhan.com

Musicares is an organization that helps people in the music industry in times of need. The organization provides “services and resources (that) cover a wide range of financial, medical and personal emergencies… MusiCares also focuses the resources and attention of the music industry on human service issues that directly impact the health and welfare of the music community.” On January 24, 2014, Musicares’ Person of the Year, Carole King will perform in Los Angeles with a star studded cast of musical legends, old and new to raise funds for this worthy charity. www.grammy.org/musicares/who-we-are"

Musicians on Call is an organization that brings live and recorded music to the besides of patients in healthcare facilities. There is no more soothing way to feel better that to listen to your favorite music especially if the songs you love are being performed by the actual artist standing just a few feet away from you. www.musiciansoncall.org

Lifebeat: Music Fights HIV/Aids is another music industry charitable organization devoted to stopping the spread of HIGV/Aids among the youth of America. One thousand young people between the ages of 13 – 24 are infected with HIV/AIDS every month in the U.S. The organization sponsors concerts, marathons, awareness programs and is supported by a most impressive list of musical performers. http://lifebeat.org/

According to Joseph Lee, who posted a list of the most charitable music personalities on www.411mania.com just few days ago, Taylor Swift has literally put her money where her mouth is and is reputed to be the most charitable artist in the music industry. Lee states, “DoSomething.org (via EW.com) has put together a list of the top twenty “Celebs Gone Good” which looks at the charitable activities of celebrities. Taylor Swift is #1 after getting to the top last year. She worked with the Winter White Gala in London, a benefit for homeless youth, and made a $100,000 donation to the Nashville Symphony on her 24th birthday.

Coming in at #2 is One Direction, who volunteered in Ghana for Comic Relief. Harry Styles and Liam Payne raised over $800,000 for cancer research this year. Beyonce (Chime for Change, Goodwill), Paul Walker (Reach Out Worldwide) and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis (“Same Love”, which sparked conversation about marriage equality) are all in the top five. “
Read more here

There are many more artists that do good work for charities. For example, you always see Bono at fund-raising charitable events and of course, Sting has been an incredible philanthropist donating time and money to various causes for the betterment of society.

I wish a happy and healthy holiday season for the good people at jambands and their readers who support the writing efforts of people like me. Let’s be good to our families and friends and remember to also help those in need.

Peace & Happy New Year

May 2014 turn out to be all that you want it to be.

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