Lunch Aid brings Heart-n-Soul to local food insecurity issues

Lunch Aid is a series of online concerts planned next week to raise money for Heart-n-Soul Community Café's Lunch Program.

Sandwiches from Heart-n-Soul Community Café. Special to The Forum

Food lingo is popular in describing music. There are hot licks and tasty jams. Riffs can be crunchy or spicy and rhythm sections need to gel to be cool.

A group of area musicians will be singing the praise of a meal service with next week’s Lunch Aid .

The four nights of broadcast concerts aims to raise money for Heart-n-Soul Community Café's Lunch Program.

The series of shows follows last year’s single night fundraising concert at Sanctuary Events Center, but spreads the tunes from Monday through Thursday. This year’s shows are produced and broadcast by Livewire , which this spring hosted and streamed a series of gigs by local artists. Monday features Jessica Vines and Kwaician Traylor, Tuesday night is Cold Sweat and The Stovepipes, Wednesday is The Human Element and The Shuttles and Thursday is the r&b act, Heart n’ Soul, no relation to the charitable cause.

During each night's hour-long shows, emcees will tell viewers how to donate and where the fundraising goal stands. People can also donate through the Lunch Aid Facebook page.


“Obviously, packing people into a large room isn’t an option for anyone now,” says the event co-producer, Jason Boynton, referring to just one of the ways that the COVID-19 pandemic has shaped the event.

Last year’s Lunch Aid raised $20,000 to help wipe out school lunch debts at Fargo Public Schools.

Jason Boynton, left holding the check, and Kari Lugo, right holding the check, presented the Fargo Public School Foundation with a check to help pay school lunch debt. Forum file photo

The ongoing pandemic sent kids home in Mid-March, so there really wasn’t a debt to pay off this year.

“The burden got shifted away from the schools to churches and other lunch programs,” Boynton says. “We can stay active and still try to address food insecurities.”

“Food insecurity is on the rise and our community is feeling the pressure,” says event co-producer Kari Lugo.

They shifted their focus to help Heart-n-Soul Community Lunch Program which provides 500 bag lunches every weekend to those in need.


The lunches include a sandwich, with vegetables, fruit and a cookie and are for anyone, from families with small kids to senior citizens.

“Anyone who reaches out to use, we try to get a lunch to them,” says Leola Daul, Heart-n-Soul Community Café founder.

Volunteers at Heart-n-Soul Community Café pack lunches. Special to The Forum

The organization’s funding, a grant through the FM Area Foundation Covid Relief Fund, will run out by month’s end, but if Lunch Aid reaches its goal of raising $20,000, the program will be funded through the end of the year.

“We’re pretty excited,” Daul says of the partnership. “We weren’t sure how we were going to keep the lunches going. I could just tell that this group really wanted to help make a difference.”

“As humans, our most basic function is to feed people. For me it’s a Christian duty and a calling. I’m charged by my faith to feed people,” Lugo says. “There are no politics involved. There’s no moral issue to disagree with. Feeding people is a basic need. I really hope there are no politics in feeding your neighbor.”

She feels that the Fargo-Moorhead area backs her up on that. Last year the fundraiser brought in $20,000 and she believes it can happen again.


“Last year was a tremendous success,” she says. “We’re encouraged by the fervent love this community has shown. This is a community that is willing and caring despite the chaos all around.”

For 20 years John Lamb has covered art, entertainment and lifestyle stories in the area for The Forum.
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