By Pam Wright
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
The popular Music for the Mind fundraising project is well on its way to its goal to raise more than $50,000 for local mental health supports.
According to founder and organizer Elisha Banks, the campaign, expected to run until the summer, has already donated $40,000 to two programs at Family Service Kent.
Banks and her crew aren’t done yet.
“We’ve got four months left to see what we can do,” Banks said recently, adding another major event is in the works for June 24 at Sons of Kent.
Banks said the details are still being ironed out, but she’s hoping to have at least three bands on the playbill.
Music for the Mind held a successful sold-out music concert at The Kent in February, which raised more than $15,000.
Banks said 350 tickets were sold with 328 people turning up in person.
“It was a packed full house,” Banks said, adding the non-profit’s nine-member volunteer team that helped her was “small but mighty.”
On top of the money raised at The Kent event, $500 was gathered for local musician Jesse Verleye through donations. Verleye was seriously injured in a car accident in late January.
Money raised by MFTM is split between two causes. Half of the funds go to Family Service Kent to assist with counselling fees for those age six and up, with the remainder going to the Kid’s Team Program to pay for psychological assessments for children.
Banks said parents are expected to pay out of pocket for assessments, which range from $2,000 to $4,000.
“We want to try and help cover the costs of assessments for children up to age 18,” Banks said. “There is no government coverage for the service. Hopefully we can help kids who might fall through the cracks by eliminating financial barriers.”
Music events are not the only way MFTM raises funds, with many local donors stepping up to pitch in. Silent auctions, can collecting, auto detailing, sign painting and 50-50 draws are some of the other ways the charity collects cash.