Patrick Price knows what it’s like to be hungry.
As a boy, his mother and stepfather left to go shopping – and came home five days later from a trip to Las Vegas.
Price and his brother and sister survived by eating green acorns off a backyard tree at their home in San Bernardino, Calif.
With that memory in mind, the Harbor musician wants to help others address their growling stomachs.
“I can relate to the working family here not being able to put food on the table,” he said. “The economy’s hit them hard, food prices are going up.”
Businesses throughout town are hosting Price, who plays on his guitar songs from the 1950s to the 1990s. He plans to take all proceeds – tips and donations – and give them to the Brookings-Harbor Community Helpers Food Bank.
“That’s the cause I want to pursue right now,” he said. “I love community activism and involvement.”
And the food bank could use the help.
According to Julie Davis, director of the food bank, there has been a 12 percent increase in demand for food in the past year, and donations are not keeping pace.
The food bank assisted 267 local households, totaling more than 600 people, with food boxes; in each box is enough to feed a family of four for three to five days.
The food bank also buys perishable food from a state- run food bank cooperative to ensure those in need receive all their daily nutritional requirements.
“Six hundred households – right here,” Price said. “The demand is a lot greater than people understand. They hear about soup kitchens and say, ‘Oh that problem’s being handled.’ But it’s a growing need.”
Local citizens have been generous in their contributions to the food bank, Price said, but cash donations are down.
And cash donations enable the food bank to purchase items at a far better cost than retail.
“They have six to seven times the buying power,” Price said. “There’s a huge difference. If I buy four cans of beans, that’s (costs me) $2. If I give them the $2, they (can buy) eight or 10 cans instead.”
Price was inspired to bring music into the mix when he became disabled in a car accident that ended his 25 years on stage as a musician. As such, he worked on cruise lines, as a house musician at restaurants and resorts and taught in elementary schools.
“It was a hard thing to let go,” he said of his 15-year absence from the music scene. “But your heart doesn’t let it go. It says, ‘Hey, remember me?’ I didn’t want to do it for all the old reasons anymore. I want to do it for a higher purpose.”
He plays from a set list of more than 500 artists, including Elvis, the Beatles, Eagles, Jimmy Buffett, James Taylor, Garth Brooks, the Rolling Stones and a multitude of others.
He’s not new to playing at benefits, either, having performed more than 200 during his 23 years in Williams.
He recently performed as a troubador for Mother’s Day at the Blue Water Cafe, garnering $50 for his efforts. So far, he has solicited about $400 from donations and sponsorships from local merchants.
“I’m trying to make a difference,” he said. This will fill the gap for working people. This is for families, for older people whose pensions or Social Security don’t make it for meals every day. They’re falling through the cracks. The food bank is feeding the fabric of our community.
“I’m just following my heart and doing what feels good to me,” he added. “That way I believe in it and do it 100 percent.”
“We’re very appreciative with his community involvement and wanting to help the food bank in these really tough times,” Davis said. “He’s a real go-getter. He’s doing something that will benefit us and entertain others.”
Those interested in sponsoring Price to perform can call 541-425-1228. The Brookings-Harbor Community Help Food Bank is located at 539-A Hemlock in Brookings; donations can also be made to P.O. Box 1415, Brookings, OR. 97415. For additional information, or to volunteer, contact Davis at 541-469-5808.