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Troy Gregorino, the booking agent at Donkey Cafe, is considering month-long benefit concerts for the Athens County Food Pantry. Proceeds made during the concert would go directly to the food pantry. January 15, 2013. (CALVIN MATTHEIS | FOR THE POST)

Donkey Charity Month to support food pantry

A riff on the charity show at Donkey Coffee & Espresso is now a full year into its life with the fifth instance of a “charity month” that will see money from the regular backroom shows given to the Athens County Food Pantry.

Instead of having regular charity shows where multiple bands are put onto the bill for a single night, Troy Gregorino, booking manager at Donkey, was looking for a way to make the concept of a benefit show more charitable. He decided to raise the month’s money by charging a $3 cover for each show and giving money that would normally go to the artist to the month’s charity.

“It’s just trying to … expand on the concept of a conventional benefit show by involving more artists and increasing fundraising, practically speaking,” Gregorino said. “I’m hoping it turns into a nice little tradition of expanding on what was already a good thing and trying to make it a little better.

Gregorino’s charity month “experiment” began last January, when members of Rural Action approached him at Donkey’s open mic night in an effort to raise money for a campaign.

Gregorino wanted to help and decided to give the proceeds for the month to the group, who was raising money to bring food from the Chesterhill Produce Auction to the Athens area food banks, he said.

Since then, Gregorino decided to do the charity month on a quarterly basis during the year with My Sister’s Place, Friends of the Dog shelter, and Passion Works Studio. They all receive the proceeds from Donkey’s backroom shows on the organization’s given month.

Athens County Food Pantry will be the fifth organization to receive donations.

“I’ve only done these benefit shows with a $3 at the door flat rate and then of course if people want to leave more for the organization, it is appreciated and encouraged,” Gregorino said.

Karin Bright, a member of the board of the Ohio Food Pantry and the communication and outreach chair said the monetary donation would be greatly appreciated.

“When we get monetary donations it gives us more money that we can spend, because we can purchase food from the Southeastern Ohio Food Bank at a special price,” Bright said.

This Friday and Saturday will each have a show that Gregorino arranged, with Friday featuring Cody Contner and Allie Austin and Saturday featuring Anna Eltringham and Winter Wilson.

This is Eltringham’s second time playing during one of Gregorino’s charity months, and for her it’s a way to give back to the community.

“I believe that music can have a huge impact on both individuals and communities,” Eltringham said. “Troy’s charity month shows are a great example of this.”

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