By Kevin Madigan / kmadigan@atljewishtimes.com

The Atlanta Community Food Bank is serious about raising money for the hungry, and lots of it. The organization is pulling out all the stops with its annual Hunger Walk/Run on March 15, and the Atlanta Jewish Music Festival is joining the action.

The 4th Ward Afro-Klezmer Orchestra

The Hunger Walk/Run will extend from Turner Field to Centennial Park, and the AJMF will produce a music stage along the route. Featured performers include the 4th Ward Afro-Klezmer Orchestra and singer-songwriter Tony Levitas.

In the spirit of the occasion, the Atlanta-based klezmer orchestra will play a set of “upbeat, moveable music,” trumpeter Roger Ruzow said. “We’ll be moving around considerably.” He described the band’s repertoire as an integration of original music, Afro-beat, jazz, klezmer, reggae and ska. “We’ll throw some traditional tunes in there, but for the most part it’s original stuff done by our nine-piece ensemble.”

AJMF director and founder Russell Gottschalk likes to showcase quality international talent from Israel, Canada and elsewhere during the festival but still ensures that more than half the shows highlight “the amazing Jewish musicians we have here in Atlanta,” he said. “From the thousands of people at the Hunger Walk/Run to the intimate listening room of Steve’s Live Music, there’s never been a better time to celebrate the diversity and appeal of contemporary Jewish music.”

He added that Ruzow and his band have “awesome chops.”
The appreciation is mutual, according to Ruzow. “Russell and the AJMF have been fantastic. He understands and has a great perspective on the development of Jewish music and its growth in all areas and influences. He’s got a pretty great vision of that. He’s done great work with his organization.”

The Atlanta Jewish Music Festival takes place at various venues starting March 12. More information is available at atlantajmf.org. The Atlanta Community Food Bank’s Hunger Walk/Run starts at noon Sunday, March 15. More information and registration are available at HWR2015.org.

Proceeds from the day benefit hunger relief programs in local nonprofit organizations, including the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta.

“What we’re hoping is to see more people not only register for the walk, but we really want them to fundraise in addition to that,” ACFB spokeswoman Angie Clawson said. “Create a team, or donate as an individual, or ask family and friends to donate.” Last year’s event attracted 17,000 participants, she noted, and if even half that number did some extra fundraising, “we could make a lot of money for the hungry people in our community, so we really hope to encourage more of that this year.”
What: Atlanta Community Food Bank Hunger Walk/Run; the AJMF will produce a stage

Where: Turner Field

When: Noon Sunday, March 15, with the walk/run beginning at 2 p.m.

Registration: HWR2015.org or JewishAtlanta.org