On Saturday, Feb. 3, Cambridge Music Outreach in Pingree Grove was proud to present "Gift of Love," the annual community concert and food drive in support of the District 300 food pantry.

Local students and community members alike gathered to share their music and their hearts with patrons in hopes of raising funds and collecting food for the pantry, which just celebrated their first year of operation in the fall of 2017. The District 300 food pantry currently serves 500 registered families and an average of 75 of those families shop per week. The only qualifications to utilize the pantry are that you must be an employee of the district or currently have children enrolled in a District 300 school.

Cambridge Lakes Learning Center is District 300's school of choice, meaning that tuition is free to any family that resides within the boundaries of the district. Our goal as a District 300 school is to continue to support and assist members of our very own communities who are in need, and our partnership with the District 300 food pantry will allow us to achieve that year after year.

Craig Raddatz, pantry founder and president, spoke to the audience about the mission and needs of the pantry.

Cambridge Music Outreach is proud to report that over 200 pounds of food and almost $800 was collected in support of the food pantry, which included a check for $435.81 raised by Cambridge Lakes Charter School students during a recent coin drive.

Community talent featured at Saturday's performance included piano and Suzuki violin students of Cambridge Studio, a private music lesson school in Pingree Grove; Cambridge Lakes Charter School's Li'l Howlers, Coyote Chorale, and Symphonic Band; The Chrome Experiment, the jazz combo out of Jacobs High School; Hoapili, a Hawaiian band featuring the father of a CLCS kindergarten student; and many more!

Hoapili closed the show by surprising the youngest audience members with a complimentary Hula lesson -- a great contrast from the snow that was falling outside by the time the concert concluded.

Thank you to all those who supported the efforts of Cambridge Music Outreach's Gift of Love Community Concert and Food Drive. This event continues to be one of the highlights of our year -- not only for the beautiful music that is shared with others, but also for the amount of love and support that our community continues to show to those in need.