SINGER-SONGWRITER Isaac Smith and friends are raising their voices in the spirit of the season.
For the second annual Christmas Concert, Savannah musicians gather to perform holiday favorites and raise money for Shelter From the Rain.
Shelter From the Rain is a faith-based organization dedicated to giving hope to single mothers in need. With 56.3% of single Savannah moms living in poverty, the group stocks pantries, provides diapers and other baby supplies, and offers educational opportunities and career guidance to moms.
Smith got the idea for a benefit concert two years ago and hosted a successful first event at the historic Gingerbread House. It was a fitting home for a festive fete, but this year, Smith’s vision has grown.
“Now, we’re doing it at The Savannah Theatre,” he says excitedly.
A talented troupe of players, including Robert Britton Saunders, Ethan Stuart, Rufus Bryant IV, Darius Shepherd, Antwan Smalls, Laiken Love, and Huxsie Scott, will perform a variety of beloved musical selections.
“It’ll be classics, Christmas carols, some classic themes, modern sounds, and, of course, being such a diverse band, we’ll absolutely be doing black gospel as well,” Smith explains. “It won’t be so much a religious experience as it will be a celebration of the Christmas spirit done in a modern, classic, and gospel style.”
Smith became familiar with the work of Shelter From the Rain when friend Jennifer Graham founded the organization.
“As a single mom herself, she reached out to the community to help mothers in need,” he explains. “The environment of Christmas, the spirit of giving, and how difficult it may be for mothers to provide not only gifts for the children they have but everyday items, too.”
One hundred percent of ticket sales will go toward Shelter From the Rain. Currently, the organization offers five programs and is accepting volunteers and donations for all of them. Through the Pantry Pal Program, nonperishable foods, clothing, and household items are collected and distributed to low-income, single-parent families.
Baby Bundles Program provides supplies like diapers, wipes, and baby powder for little ones and educational information for mothers. In addition to accepting community donations, the program purchases items of out of stock and uses a partnership with a Community Diaper Program in order to purchase premium diapers at discounted rates for families in need.
The quarterly Mommy Meetup Support Group is a way for moms to network, share stories, and commune while their children play at no cost. At each meeting, educational topics and community resource information is available on breastfeeding, GED courses, healthcare, insurance, finance, health and nutrition, career preparation, and much more.
Mothers with Mentors offers mothers one-on-one guidance with a mentor in order to reach positive goals through a structured system of assistance. Through mentorship funding, the organizaiton helps single mothers work toward economic independence, health, and wellness.
Through the Queen’s Corner Program, moms receive recognition in the form of encouraging notes, gently used clothing and shoes, and small gifts. An extraordinary single mom receives the “Crown a Single Mom” award annually that honors their achievements as parents. The program also assists selected families for holiday assistance.
The Building Blocks program focuses on education, supplying families with school supplies, books, and educational resources to inspire a love of learning in the home.
After learning about all of the work that Shelter From the Rain does for Savannahians in need, Smith felt driven to support the organization.
“I love to help out with something like this that benefits the community,” he says.
In addition to supporting a great cause, Smith and cohorts are looking forward to making music together for an audience.
“I’m really freaking excited about it,” Smith says. “I just love getting to play with people outside of my band. It’s going to be a really great night of musicians who don’t get to play together playing and having a good time. And, it’s great music.”