A local group that fights childhood hunger will hold its annual fundraiser next week to benefit the Eastern Illinois Foodbank's BackPack Program.
Now entering its fifth year, FACET — Friends Against Children's Empty Tummies — has set a fundraising goal of $5,000, enough to sponsor backpacks for 28 children for an entire school year.
Highlighting this year's events will be an art show and concert featuring opera singer Elizabeth Buckley and several local youth musicians; a bake sale with "off-the-beaten-path" goodies; and a basket raffle.
The art show/concert is scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday at the Indi Go Art Gallery in downtown Champaign.
Buckley, who attended the University of Illinois, is a mezzosoprano who recently sang her debut recital at Carnegie Hall as 2011 first prize winner of the Barry Alexander International Vocal Competition. She has performed in concerts, operas and musical theater around the world.
The concert will open with a piano duet by Urbana High School students Elena Newmark and Nicole Choquette, followed by Linus Erbach, Celia Faux and Paula Norato of the Bow-Dacious String Band.
Admission is free but donations are encouraged.
The bake sale will be held from 7 a.m. to noon Sept. 10 at the Market at the Square in downtown Urbana. It will feature hand-made items — chocolate truffles, pepperoni bread, marinara sauce, barbecue sauce and krumkake, Norwegian cookies.
Raffle baskets will have merchandise and gift certificates from local merchants, including massage packages, a "car spa" and Boneyard pottery.
Raffle tickets will be sold at Thursday's art show/concert and at the Sept. 10 bake sale up until the drawing at 11:30 a.m. Tickets are five for $5, 15 for $10, or 40 for $20.
Ana Vieira, a UI scientist and mother of two, founded the group in 2007 when she and several friends entered a bake sale sponsored by Share Our Strength, a national group that redistributes the money to local anti-hunger organizations. They took in $1,300 that first year.
In 2009 FACET decided to give the proceeds directly to the food bank. Last year's event raised $4,400, Vieira said.
"No child should have to worry about when their next meal is going to be," said Vieira. "That is just not acceptable, particularly in a campus town full of Nobel Prizes in the No. 1 nation in the world."