Opportunities for Otsego is observing National Hunger and Homeless Awareness Week with several local events, as well as a food drive that will continue through the month. According to a media release, the events are designed to bring awareness to the issues of hunger and homelessness and to raise funds to support critical emergency housing services in Otsego County.
The local observance began Saturday, with an informational table and children’s activities at the Southside Mall. On Tuesday, Applebee’s in the mall will participate in Dining to Donate. Ten percent of each participating guest’s check will be donated to OFO’s homeless shelter. Customers must present a voucher to participate; vouchers are available for download at www.ofoinc.org or www.facebook.com/ofoinc.
A pair of concerts this weekend will also benefit OFO. Singer-songwriter Dana LaCroix and blues guitarist and singer Murali Coryell will perform Saturday at the Oneonta Theatre and Sunday in Cooperstown in a private home.
According to a media release from LaCroix, the pair represent many years of recording and touring throughout North America and Europe between them. Coryell has performed with B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Levon Helm, George Clinton and George Thorogood. His latest album, “Sugar Lips,” which features guest artists Joe Louis Walker and Larry Coryell, was featured in Guitar Player Magazine, Living Blues and Elmore Magazine. LaCroix, a native of Toronto, has written songs for feature films in Canada, the United States and Europe; her CD “Faith in You” was praised by Gordon Lightfoot as “a passionate album by a wonderful songwriter.”
The Oneonta Theatre concert will feature Coryell on electric guitar and vocals, LaCroix on acoustic guitar and vocals, Adam Armstrong on bass and Jakob Rostboll on drums. Tickets, at $20 for adults and $10 for children ages 16 and younger, are available at the Oneonta Theatre Box office, Green Toad Bookstore, 8th Note Music Store, Music Square and Maxwell’s. The concert will begin at 8 p.m.
Sunday’s concert will feature LaCrois and Coryell in an acoustic performance at 85 Chestnut St. Tickets for the 3 p.m. concert, at $25 each, are available at Ellsworth and Sill at 79 Main St. in Cooperstown.
OFO is collecting food at the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum; Bugbee Children’s Center; Country Club Auto Group; the Daily Star; Glimmerglass Opera; Information Systems Division (ISD); NBT Bank branches in Oneonta; Otsego Imports; and Sidney Federal Credit Union. Additional collections are being held in conjunction with the Bassett Healthcare Network Health Fair at the FoxCare Center on Tuesday; the Oneonta High School Drago Tip-Off Basketball Tournament on Nov. 20-24; the SHIFT Fair and the Holiday Inn on Nov. 23 and 24; and at the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train of Lights event Nov. 29.
According to OFO, almost 300 people in Otsego County were homeless in 2011. Of those, about one-third found refuge in Otsego County’s only homeless shelter, which is run by Opportunities for Otsego. Others were temporarily housed in area motels. Of those housed at the shelter, 28 were children. According to the state Education Department, there were 69 homeless students during the 2009-10 school year; an increase from 38 students during the previous school year.
Opportunities for Otsego is a Community Action Agency that strives to alleviate poverty and fosters self-sufficiency through comprehensive and holistic client-centered services. OFO’s mission is to be the leader in developing innovative solutions that promote healthy lives, thriving families, and caring communities. OFO is a member agency of the United Way of Delaware and Otsego Counties.