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Community Rallies to Aid Rising Hope

‘Tenth Avenue North’ concert is next hurdle.

Rising Hope is depending on ticket sales for this Sunday’s benefit performance by Tenth Avenue North.

Rising Hope is depending on ticket sales for this Sunday’s benefit performance by Tenth Avenue North.

— With a timely rescue by Mount Vernon area donors, the shelves in the Rising Hope Mission Church food pantry are now full and 377 young people received backpacks filled with school supplies to head back to school for a fresh start.

Recent articles alerted the community to critical shortages at the church which aids the homeless and needy along the Route 1 corridor.

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Photo by Ed Simmons Jr.

Sarah Heckman (center), food pantry manager, said her shelves are now full and there’s money in the account. With her are volunteers Martha Reitman and Andy Powell.

“Please be sure to say ‘Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you!’” said Sarah Heckman who manages the food pantry. “We have food on the shelves and money in the account, and that relieves stress.”

Kay Barnes, director of missions, called the community response “astonishing and wonderful.” But she also noted that in the long-term budget “we have a huge hole.”

“It’s desperate times because in the current economic climate the number of people we’re supporting is rising week after week and it’s really squeezing us right now.” She said that just in the past two weeks, 50 more families have turned to Rising Hope for help.

Much depends, she said, on ticket sales to a benefit concert this Sunday, Sept. 16.

Performing at the Hilton Memorial Chapel in Woodbridge is the nationally famous Christian Rock band Tenth Avenue North, now traveling the country for their “Struggle Tour.” Their song “You Are More” was the number one Christian song of the year in 2011 according to Billboard.

“It’s a nail-biter,” said Barnes because ticket sales have been slow. “We very much hope that organizations with large youth groups will support it.”

The money the concert raises, she added, “will go a long ways to getting us to the end of the year.”

Tickets are available at http://www.itickets.com/tours/1220.html.