In the mood for some new holiday tunes? Or maybe you are looking for a fun way to contribute to a nonprofit this season. Either way, local rock band Green River Distillers can help you out.
Green River Distillers — formed by teachers, students and alum from Rock ‘N’ More Music Academy — is hosting a one-hour benefit concert to collect food items for the Maple Valley Food Bank.
“Our food bank has been posting a lot lately saying they need a lot of things,” Rock ‘N’ More Vice President Arielle Young said. “And so we just wanted to do something nice for the community and get our album that out there at the same time, so we thought this would be a good opportunity to do that.”
President of Rock ‘N’ More Dace Anderson and Young are two members of the band Green River Distillers, which recorded a new holiday album filled with original songs last October. The band recorded in Young’s living room after years of talking about a holiday album project.
Anderson said it started a few years back when he wrote a song titled “If I’m going to get stuck (I want to get stuck with you).” The song includes guitar, piano, saxophone and blues rhythm. A couple of Young and Anderson’s friends heard the song and had holiday song ideas of their own.
“Most Christmas albums are recored in the summertime,” Anderson said. “So that CDs can be out by Thanksgiving. So when it’s December and we’re thinking about doing a Christmas album, it’s too late. It’s way too late. For the past two or three years we’ve been saying ‘Alright, next year.’”
The album, titled “Merry Preparations” was released on Dec. 1.
Young said a few things inspired the band to call themselves the Green River Distillers. The first being every band member was from the Pacific Northwest, and they wanted to honor the local area, so they chose Green River. Young and Dace also make wine in their spare time. While wine is not distilled in the creation process, Young discovered a historic distillery in Kentucky named Green River. The distillery burned down decades ago, Young said, but the history was interesting and was the last bit of inspiration needed to create the Green River Distillers band.
Other band members include Jim Hanna, Scott Nordell, Daniel Pellegrini and Trevor Lind.
To help spread the word of their album the band is hosting a concert from 2 – 3 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 22, at the Greater Maple Valley Community Center, 22010 SE 248th Street, Maple Valley.
The band was inspired by NFL star Richard Sherman’s food drive challenge, which helped increase money and food donations to the Maple Valley Food Bank in November. The food bank saw an increase in clients, which led to a lack of supplies for holiday food supplies.
Over 180 families came out to pick up their weekly food along with holiday meals, which was a success for volunteers but left the food bank without many supplies for families who came to pick up food on Wednesday and Thursday.
“We are giving out more food and serving more clients than we used to,” Volunteer and Program Coordinator Sigurros Welborn said in an interview last month. “Last Tuesday (Nov. 19) we served 181 families. That’s probably the highest number we’ve ever done in a day. That’s emptying our shelves. While food drives are happening, and we are getting donations, we are not meeting our current need.”
The increase in clients is because the food bank recently extended its pick-up hours on Tuesdays to accommodate working families.
The plea for more supplies and donations grabbed the attention of local former Seahawk, now San Francisco 49er, Richard Sherman.
“I’d like to challenge the community of Maple Valley to help your fellow man and woman,” Sherman said in a Facebook Live video in November. “Whether that’s donating clothes, backpacks, coats, shoes, regardless if it’s your time. I think this holiday season we can make a tremendous impact.”
Sherman is the founder of the Blanket Coverage, The Richard Sherman Family Foundation, which helps families with children have clothes and school supplies.
The Maple Valley Food Bank was founded as a nonprofit in March, 1965, and serves families in a grocery store-style setting three days a week. This style of food bank allows clients to come in and “shop” for the food they need, instead of just being handed a box of pre-organized goods.
During the holidays every family gets a turkey for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. Local stores such as Costco donate a large amount of turkeys but many more have to be bought with monetary donations. Welborn said in 2018 the food bank gave away around 800 turkeys.
The food bank also helps families provide toys and gifts for their children by hosting a children’s gift program during the winter months.
The food bank provided the Green River Distillers a list of much-needed items;
•Personal care products.
The concert is sponsored by the Maple Valley Library Guild. The concert is free to the public but all guests are asked to bring something to donate to the food bank.
Young and Anderson said they are excited to play the album for a new crowd. Some of the two’s favorite songs include “Winter Storm” and “I’m Going Skiing.” Music lovers can find the album on Spotify or on YouTube.com.