Last month, Ripple Grove Press released their latest children’s book, Mr. Tanner, an illustrative adaption of Harry Chapin’s iconic 1973 song, “Mr. Tanner”, with a portion of proceeds benefitting WhyHunger. Harry Chapin was originally inspired to write the song after seeing a mediocre review of a baritone singer in the New York Times in the early 1970’s. The children’s story further draws on this inspiration, depicting a story of a dry cleaning bear, Mr. Tanner, from Dayton, Ohio, who dreams of changing his career to become a professional singer. Every day, Mr. Tanner greets customers by singing in his baritone voice. After being encouraged by friends to sing professionally, Mr. Tanner takes a chance and travels to New York City to try out his dream. Similar to the original story that inspired Chapin, the NYC music agents and critics aren’t interested in Mr. Tanner’s baritone voice and, feeling defeated, the bear returns back to Ohio to continue dry cleaning. However, he continues singing to his customers and friends, because singing is what brings him the most joy in life.
We spoke to the co-owner of Ripple Grove Press, Rob Broder, and illustrator of Mr. Tanner, Bryan Langdo, to gain a sense of what working on the children’s book meant for them:
How has working on this project, knowing WhyHunger’s mission and Harry Chapin’s involvement (as a co-founder of WhyHunger and lifelong activist), been different for you compared to other book projects you’ve worked on?
Rob Broder: It's definitely been a different experience working on this book. Taking song lyrics and laying it out was a fun project. Thankfully Harry's songs tell such a nice story, so breaking the spreads out can easily. Bryan's vision helped too.
Bryan Langdo: Working on this book, I felt a lot of pressure to get it right. It's obviously a well-loved song, and I wanted to make sure I did it justice. And honestly, I felt honored to be a part of something so much bigger than me.
What do you hope children take away from this book?
RB: We hope children will enjoy the story and the beautiful illustrations, but we hope children take away that they should do what makes them feel good—regardless of what people say. Whether it’s to sing or to paint or play an instrument . . . do what makes you feel good inside. Do what makes you feel whole.
BL: I hope it shows kids that it's okay if things don't work out the way they want, or if they don't come in first. We often focus on people who are at the very top of their fields. But there are plenty of singers, actors, writers who might not be celebrities, but are still very successful, and more importantly, happy.
How do you think this book helps children understand the challenges when following their passions and the importance of finding joy from within?
RB: I think this book can open a discussion with your child on what makes them feel alive. What do they truly enjoy to do? Even though in the story it says Mr. Tanner "never sang again,” he does. Because he can't help it. It's inside him to sing and it makes him "feel so good." And at the end, we can see him singing in his shop, and his customers are outside listening to him and smiling. So you can choose how to take criticism, whether you want to listen to it or not, but at the end of the day you should follow your dreams and passion.
BL: It sends the message that you should follow your heart and keep doing what you love, even if it doesn't wind up being your job.
What about Harry Chapin’s “Mr. Tanner” compelled you to release the book under Ripple Grove, and why did you decide to donate a portion of the proceeds to WhyHunger?
RB: At Ripple Grove press we are always looking for that next story. A story that really captures a moment. And I have been listening to “Mr. Tanner” for decades. And one day it just struck me what a wonderful story this would be for children. The message of the story really spoke to me. So I reached out to the Chapin's and asked them if they would be interested in making it a picture book. We also started Ripple Grove Press to give something back, so when a childhood friend told me he's on the board of WhyHunger, it was a perfect match.
Why did you choose to illustrate Mr. Tanner as a bear?
BL: That was Rob's idea. He called and said he was going to send me a manuscript and that I should picture the main character as a bear. After reading through it, I knew that was a great idea. If Mr. Tanner had been illustrated as a person, the book might have felt too sad. Plus, he'd be an adult then, and kids have a much easier time relating to animals than they do adults.
How did Harry Chapin’s lyrics shape your vision for the book and what was your process in translating that onto paper?
BL: The song functions really well as a story, so for the most part, the process was just like that of any other book I've worked on. I didn't want to hide the fact that it was a song, though, so I made sure the three choruses stood out. The chorus spreads take a break from the narrative and feature Mr. Tanner "super-imposed" onto background images with dry-cleaning conveyors/music staves running behind him.
Ripple Grove Press will be donating a portion of the proceeds from Mr. Tanner to WhyHunger. The children’s book is available now at Ripple Grove Press.
Mark your calendars! We’re thrilled to announce that the annual WhyHunger Chapin Awards event will be held on Tuesday, June 13th at the Edison Ballroom in NYC. This will be a special evening of music and activism honoring musician and Late Show with Stephen Colbert bandleader Jon Batiste for his philanthropic initiatives and our grassroots partner Bed-Stuy Campaign Against Hunger for their food justice work in increasing nutritious food access in their community.
Comedian and talk show host Pete Dominick will host the night and guests will enjoy a cocktail reception, silent auction, dinner, and of course, amazing musical performances by Jon Batiste and Stay Human! Join us for an impactful night as we celebrate the work being done in the fight against hunger and poverty, and look ahead at what’s to come.
Watch the video below for a great recap of last year’s event and get your tickets today! Can’t make it? You can still make a donation or add a note of support to our program journal. Thank you for your support!
Artists Against Hunger and Poverty is excited to announce a new partnership with YouTuber Chris Oflyng for our Summer Meals Rock for Kids campaign! Known for his high energy and dynamic videos that promote positivity and acceptance, Chris has hundreds of thousands of dedicated fans across the world and is using his popular platform to draw attention to the summer hunger crisis in America.
When asked about why he decided to join the movement he says:
"As a child I began to have major concerns about hunger worldwide when my grandparents told me about poverty overseas and the agricultural and economic struggles people were facing. It grew even stronger as a teenager on a family trip to Seattle when I saw the needs of the people right in my home, America. I hope to use my crazy sense of humor and passion for travel to spread the word and help communities in need both domestically and abroad. I am proud and excited to be making a difference in the world by working with WhyHunger, an organization who is focusing on the root causes of hunger and poverty."
Fans now have the opportunity to join the battle against hunger by bidding on a chance to win a coffee date for two with Chris through Prizeo. This unique platform gives fans 100 entries for every $10 they donate, and the more they donate, the more entries they'll receive along with signed photos, t-shirts, and more!
This Valentine's Day we’re showing our donors some love by launching a new series that profile some of our supporters! Join us in celebrating them and the good they do by contributing to their communities and the work of WhyHunger.
Today, meet two donors we love, Salaam Bhatti and Michael Mark:
Salaam Bhatti, tell us a little about yourself.
Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association (AMYA USA), a vibrant brotherhood serving local communities and our country. We are comprised of more than 3,000 American Muslim men and boys, aged 7 to 40, spread across 70 local chapters. Our brotherhood, established in 1939, is one of the earliest Muslim youth organizations in the United States and includes Grammy Award winning artists and Pulitzer Prize winning journalists.I’m a member of
What is your profession?
I’m a lawyer, stand-up comic and chocolate chip cookie lover with a passion for helping to improve the lives of friends, neighbors – and even total strangers. I love new experiences, meeting new people by teaming up to do impactful work. Through my organization I’ve become involved in things I never would have gotten the opportunity to do. If it wasn’t for AMYA I would probable just be sitting at home – being okay with mediocrity and playing video games.
How did you first learn about WhyHunger and what excites or inspires you about our work?
Three years ago AMYA USA did our first walk-athon in partnership with WhyHunger and Humanity First and we have been raising funds and awareness about WhyHunger’s work since then. Partnering with an external group is fascinating. It shows that people of different backgrounds can have the same goals and that together we can work to achieve these goals by using our differences in a positive manner to affect change.
Thank you Salaam and to AMYA USA!
Michael Mark, tell us a little about yourself.
I enjoy serving the community and have been a trustee on the Nyack School District Board of Education for 18 years, and I also serve on the Valley Cottage Library Board. My wife Mary and I like to visit our children in California and Chicago, a musician and TV producer.
What is your profession?
I am a professional musician with the luck of having been in a Broadway musical called I Love My Wife where I got a Drama Desk Award for featured actor. I also was lucky enough to do writing for television and wrote the theme for Entertainment Tonight – which has been their theme for 35 years!
How did you first learn about WhyHunger and what excites or inspires you about our work?
I was in an off-Broadway musical called Cotton Patch Gospel that featured music by Harry Chapin and I met Tom Chapin who was the musical director. A few years later Tom asked me to do a musical collaboration and I’ve been doing that, traveling and performing with him ever since … for about 30 years!
So, I learned about WhyHunger from Tom Chapin and how it’s important to continue the tradition of doing benefit and concert work to create awareness and fight hunger. Together with Tom and Jon Forster we wrote a song called “Walk the World Now, Children” and I created a wrist band with the inscription “walk the world and treat it lovingly” that I sell at concerts to benefit WhyHunger. Last year our fans topped $10,000 in donations. I also enjoy being “auctioned off” with Tom and Jon Cobert as bandmates for a private house concert to support WhyHunger and contributing to Hungerthon each year. What I love about WhyHunger is that you support grassroots, on-the-ground organizations that have the local, effective solutions to hunger.
Thank you Michael!
Each year, hunger affects over 48.1 million Americans, including 15.3 million children. These numbers represent very real people struggling to make ends meet across the country, but we can all chip in to make a difference and help people get the nutritious food they need.
Does breaking a sweat and fighting hunger at the same time interest you? Then join us for the Ride Against Hunger event on Saturday, March 5, 2016 at the Peloton Cycle Studio in NYC that will benefit WhyHunger and the New Jersey Anti-Hunger Coalition. You can register to ride for 1 or 2 hours. In addition to the cycling, this fun event will include shoe rental, refreshments, access to state-of-the-art locker room, a swag bag and a special Ride Against Hunger t-shirt.
Further amp your impact by starting your own personal fundraising page. There will be great prizes for the riders who raise the most, so get started today!
WhyHunger's annual Hungerthon campaign raised a gross total of $822K this year for the fight against hunger and poverty. Partnering with CBS Radio New York, SiriusXM and iHeartMedia New York, the money was raised through the combined efforts of a national radiothon, where WhyHunger staff and 15 different community-based partners participated in issue-focused interviews, and an online auction, which featured one-of-a-kind donations of memorabilia and experiences.
“As we wrap up our 30th Hungerthon, we continue to be inspired and energized by the tremendous support of the thousands of fans, radio listeners, artist and celebrity partners, and our incredible sponsors who make this campaign possible,” said WhyHunger’s executive director Noreen Springstead. “The Hungerthon community has once again stepped up to join WhyHunger in the critical work of building a just food system that upholds everyone’s right to nutritious food.”
Funds raised are invested in long-term community-based solutions that help people in need across communities in America. By resourcing, connecting and supporting the grassroots leaders who are driving food equality for the nation, WhyHunger is working to create a powerful, vital collective to drive change, and each year, the campaign builds further awareness for the global issue of hunger.
With over 150 auctions on charitybuzz.com, this year's top earners included:
• Bruce Springsteen Autographed 1952 Fender Reissue Telecaster Guitar
• VIP Tickets to Saturday Night Live plus a Backstage Tour with Director Don Roy King
• Dinner with Max Weinberg with Signed Memorabilia
• Guest DJ on SiriusXM's 1st Wave in NYC or LA
• Flyaway to Meet Kenny Chesney with 2 Sandbar Tickets to a show on the 2016 Spread the Love Tour
• Guest DJ on SiriusXM's Big 80s on 8 in New York City
This year, WhyHunger partnered with singer-songwriter & actress Emily Kinney in a successful effort to help raise awareness. Some highlights: an Entertainment Weekly Radio (SiriusXM, channel 105) interview with the charity's executive director Noreen Springstead, a NYLON snapchat takeover during a site visit to Bed-Stuy Campaign Against Hunger, an interview on HLN's The Daily Share, amongst others.
Additionally, WhyHunger’s long-time board member and Grammy-award winning singer/songwriter Tom Chapin joined the team at CBS Radio New York to support a live radiothon on Nov 24th, including a memorable interview with WFAN’s Mike Francesa.
Special thanks to Hungerthon 2015 Radio Partners: CBS Radio New York, SiriusXM and iHeartMedia New York; our sponsors at Hard Rock International; and the newest addition to the Artist Against Hunger & Poverty Program: Emily Kinney.
You can still get involved at Hungerthon.org through the end of the year and donations are accepted year round by texting the word WHY to 50555 to donate $10 to WhyHunger. Data & Msg rates apply, full terms at mGive.org/T
Hungerthon isn’t over yet, but here at the WhyHunger office we're already reflecting on how grateful we are for the volunteers that make it possible year after year. I sat down with a few longtime volunteers to hear about what makes Hungerthon so important to each of them.
Don’t miss out! A majority of our exclusive Hungerthon celebrity auction items online at Charitybuzz are closing on Tuesday, December 8th! Bid now to support WhyHunger’s work and help fight for everyone’s right to nutritious food. Memorabilia and unique experience packages from musicians, sports teams and personalities such as Kenny Chesney, Andy Cohen, Jenny McCarthy, Billy Joel, Pitbull, NY Mets, Carlos Santana, Willie Nelson and more are up for grabs now!
Here are a few examples:
Spend the Day with Sway Calloway at the SiriusXM Studios in New York City & Sit in on His Show Sway in the Morning
Meet MTV veteran entertainment reporter Sway Calloway at the SiriusXM Studios in New York City and sit in for a morning of celebrity guests and wild segments on his show, Sway in the Morning Show.
Autographed Natural Squire Vintage Modified Jazz Bass Signed by Sting
Bid to win this autographed Natural Squire Vintage Modified Jazz Bass signed by Sting! Having achieved stardom as the singer, bassist, and principal songwriter for the Police, Sting abruptly dissolved that band at the peak of its career in the mid-Eighties. Sting's solo career is characterized by a restless yen to experiment. He has pushed the canny musicianship and affinity for exotic musical styles that distinguished his former group in directions that a trio would likely never have considered. Sting's post-Police projects have ensured his place among the most articulate and intuitive rock musicians of his generation. Sting has recorded several more albums as a solo artist than he did with the Police, and his total sales as a solo artist have surpassed that group's total as well.
Meet Sugar Ray Backstage with Seats on Stage at an Upcoming 2016 Show Plus Photo and Autograph Opportunity
This package includes: Backstage access with the band before an upcoming Summer 2016 show (date TBD closest to winner) Seats on the stage for the concert Photo and autograph opportunities backstage.
Guest DJ on SiriusXM's Grateful Dead Channel in NYC, LA, or D.C. Plus Memorabilia
This package includes: A set of the three different daily programs and three different daily backstage passes from the Grateful Dead Fare Thee Well shows in Chicago Custom poster made by the band’s artist Fare Thee Well: July 3, 4 &5 12-CD/7-Blu-Ray Individually numbered, limited edition of 20,000 Full audio and high-definition video from all three shows performed over Fourth Of July weekend at Chicago’s Soldier Field, newly edited exclusively for this release by Justin Kreutzmann. Bonus Disc features over 2.5 hours of exclusive behind-the-scenes footage by Justin Kreutzmann -Blu-ray 5.1 and stereo audio mixed by Dennis “Wiz” Leonard and Derek Featherstone -Mastered by David Glasser -Authored by Rich Winter The Fare Thee Well shows celebrated 50 Years of Grateful Dead over three nights on July 3, 4, and 5, 2015, marking the original members' last-ever performance together. The band was joined by Trey Anastasio (guitar), Jeff Chimenti (keyboards), and Bruce Hornsby (piano).
Attend a Brooklyn Nets Home Game in a Suite with Tom Kaminski Plus Meet the Nets Radio Play by Play Team
This package includes: Suite access for yourself and up to 14 guests, hosted by Tom, a meet and greet with the Nets Radio Play by Play team Chris Carrino and Tim Capstraw and a close up look at the video entertainment operation for the Barclays Center.
Join Andy Cohen In-Studio for His SiriusXM Radio Show in NYC Plus Photo Opportunity
You and a guest can join Andy Cohen in-studio for one of his weekly SiriusXM Radio Shows. To make it an experience you'll never forget, you will have the opportunity to take a picture with him.
Personalized Spoken Audio Recording from Josh Gad as Frozen's Olaf
Here's your chance to get a once in a lifetime personalized spoken audio recording from the voice of Frozen's Olaf, Josh Gad. All you have to do is provide the details of your child (name, birthday, pets, siblings... any additional information you'd like to be included)! If your child is graduating, has an upcoming birthday, or you just want to surprise them, this is something they will treasure for the rest of their life.
AND SO MUCH MORE! Go to Charitybuzz to place your bid and fight hunger today.
Hard Rock is kicking off the season of giving by helping to nourish children and families worldwide with IMAGINE THERE’S NO HUNGER. Inspired by John Lennon and his iconic song “IMAGINE,” the global campaign strives to turn his dream of a world with no hunger into a reality. For the eighth year, Yoko Ono Lennon joins Hard Rock International and WhyHunger in support of that mission. Proceeds from Hard Rock’s campaign will directly benefit WhyHunger and its grassroots partners worldwide, working to advance long-term solutions to hunger and poverty by supporting community-based organizations that empower individuals and build self-reliance.
“Hard Rock’s IMAGINE THERE’S NO HUNGER campaign challenges us to help change the lives of hungry children and families all across the globe,” said Yoko Ono Lennon. “Together, we can work to create a hunger-free existence for all, and realize the peaceful world my husband, John Lennon, envisioned.”
With Hard Rock’s support through the years, IMAGINE has helped communities grow enough food to provide more than 9.8 million nutritious meals in 31 countries. The campaign has supported programs that taught more than 47,800 community members techniques for sustained food production and has raised more than $6.8 million to help fight childhood hunger.
“Through the IMAGINE campaign, we are taking action and fighting for the worldwide human right to nutritious food,” said Hamish Dodds, President and CEO of Hard Rock International and Global Ambassador for WhyHunger. “With the help of all of our guests, Yoko Ono Lennon and the team at WhyHunger, we can make a difference with real, sustainable solutions.”
“We have seen firsthand the impact teaching young people how to grow their own food can have on families and communities around the globe,” said Noreen Springstead, Executive Director, WhyHunger. “Together with our partners Yoko Ono Lennon and Hard Rock International, we can meet our goals and help raise millions to end worldwide hunger and poverty.”
Show Your Support
True to Hard Rock’s mottos, “Love All - Serve All” and “Take Time to be Kind,” philanthropy has been the soul of the brand since its founding in 1971, and now guests can join in the fight against childhood hunger and poverty. Beginning on Monday, November 2, 2015, Hard Rock will offer limited-edition IMAGINE THERE’S NO HUNGER merchandise, including a bracelet and T-shirt. For a $2 donation, guests can choose from an assortment of colored bracelets with 100 percent of funds raised benefiting WhyHunger. Additionally, 15 percent of the retail price of the IMAGINE T-shirt, which features the inspiring words “IMAGINE THERE’S NO HUNGER” alongside a peace sign, will benefit WhyHunger. Merchandise is available for purchase at Rock Shops at Hard Rock Cafe, Hotel and Casino properties around the world and online at www.hardrock.com.
Stay to Give Back
Guests and fans of Hard Rock Hotel & Casinos are invited to let their wish be heard with the IMAGINE THERE’S NO HUNGER Wish Tree. Guests can make donations in the Rock Shop for a Wish Tag, then write wishes down and place it on the hotel’s Wish Tree. Funds raised through the purchase of each Wish Tag will go directly to support sustainable agriculture education and nutritional feeding programs around the world, through the partnership with IMAGINE. Wish Tag donations can be any amount, including $2 to feed a child for a day, $5 to feed a child for a week, $10 to start a family or community garden and $20 to start a school garden program.
As part of the 2015 IMAGINE THERE’S NO HUNGER campaign, Hard Rock encourages fans to show their support by using the #ImagineNoHunger hashtag on social media. Whether sharing photos of Hard Rock’s IMAGINE merchandise or how they support the IMAGINE campaign, Hard Rock looks to its guests to join the fight and utilize the #ImagineNoHunger hashtag in their social media posts this season.
For additional information on the IMAGINE program, visit www.hardrock.com/IMAGINE.