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Dedicate a tune to help feed struggling

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You can tell your sweetie you’re still madly in love — and tell the rest of the community that you have a heart for the struggling.

Those are among the benefits of the annual Love Songs for Love Chapel Valentine’s Day fundraiser, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Feb. 14.

The fundraiser allows residents to dedicate songs on Columbus’ QMIX 107.3 radio for $10 — or more — per tune to benefit the local food pantry.

Loved ones get fed a dose of musical affection. Hungry families get fed, period.

It’s a win-win, said Elizabeth Kestler, Love Chapel executive director.

“I still think this concept is one of the best for a fundraiser,” she said of the event that began in 1997.

Love Chapel, the arm of the Ecumenical Assembly of Bartholomew County Churches, will use funds from the song donations to buy groceries, pay utilities, rent and more for the area’s poor. That’s done through the agency’s emergency assistance fund.

That’s significant since the pantry just fed a record 35,000 people in 2013, Kestler said. The mobile pantry fed another 4,412.

Because of that, she’s hoping many listeners and supporters agree to donate much more than $10 if they can.

The individual monetary amount has mattered more in recent years since the event has lost some corporate sponsors, Kestler said. Yet, some

companies still sponsor an entire hour of songs for $600, or a half hour for $300.

QMIX News Director Brittany Gray said some listeners initially might be confused when they turn on the radio and hear a parent dedicating Kermit the Frog’s “Rainbow Connection” to their youngster before school.

“The big thing of this, besides the music, is remembering why we throw our format completely out the window for most of the day and do something for the community,” Gray said. “That’s something that’s very important.

“And we’d like to think people will be willing to dig deep down in their hearts and wallets and purses. And if they decide to pay $20 or more for a song, then we’d be thrilled.”

QMIX staff sometimes must download some tunes, or dig into an old CD collection or their sister stations’ collection, to get specific songs on the air.

Kestler loves the idea that people dedicate songs in memory of deceased loved ones, to bosses, neighbors, you name it. There’s plenty of love to go around.

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