NW Ohio Blues, Rhythm and Jazz Fest supports the hungry - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

NW Ohio Blues, Rhythm and Jazz Fest supports the hungry

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 Smooth sounds of music filled the Grand Plaza Hotel, as volunteers and organizers got ready to kick off the Northwest Ohio Blues, Rhythm and Jazz Festival.

The 5th annual even showcases musicians from all over the country, but it has a bigger mission, fighting hunger.

"We're trying to get people to come downtown to support the food bank, support the city and local area and enjoy themselves," Festival Chairman, Dianne Tankoos said.

This year, around 3,000 tickets have already been sold.

Organizers encourage everyone to bring a food item for the Toledo Northwestern Ohio Food Bank.

The goal is to fill a TARTA bus.

"It grows by the hundreds," Tankoos said.  "Last year was our biggest, this year we're hoping it's even bigger."

Dozens of local businesses sponsor the festival each year.

13abc is once again a proud sponsor and was a drop off location for Hope for the Hungry food drive.

As of Friday, the bins at the studio was overflowing.

It will soon be added to the more than 24,000 pounds of food that's already been collected.

"It's been a fantastic food drive," James M. Caldwell, President and CEO of the Toledo Northwestern Ohio Food Bank said.  "We're ahead of our totals last year to date, so it's been a success."

But, this drive is nearing an end.

While the donations have helped tremendously, Caldwell says hunger has no season.

"The need continues to grow," he told 13abc.  "It's grown and it's evolved, not only around here, but around the country."

Luckily, this community has stepped up to the plate and Caldwell hopes the generosity carries over.

The festival is Saturday July 12th at Promenade Park in downtown Toledo.

It runs from 4 p.m. to 12 a.m.  You can purchase tickets at the gate if you don't have them already.

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