Music, coffee and a good cause

The band Controlled Folly is playing at Donkey Saturday night as part of the new fundraising series at the coffeehouse. Proceeds will benefit Rural Action.

One day, Troy Gregorino, who books music at Donkey Coffee and Espresso, got to thinking about all of the benefit shows artists and venues host throughout the Athens area community. Wanting to do more, he thought, "How can we make this bigger and better?"

He continued, "I thought, I wonder what would happen if we tried to funnel funds over a stretch of time for a single benefit."

So instead of hosting one open-mic night or a single weekend fundraiser, Gregorino got Donkey on board with Rural Action, and the two will work together to host a series of musical performances this month in which the $3 entry fee will go entirely to providing those in need with healthy food from the Chesterhill Produce Auction. This will continue for the final three weekends in January, with this weekend kicking off the first event with performances by Michael Rinaldi-Eichenberg and Jimmy Herpy Friday at 8 p.m., and Controlled Folly and Dirty Thumbs Saturday at 8 p.m.

Gregorino describes it as "an experiment."

"This is intended as the start of a new, unorthodox approach to fundraising and awareness-raising, with plans in the works for similar benefits for other causes throughout the year," he said.

With the future in mind, Matt Moore of Rural Action said that's why instead of collecting non-perishable food items to donate to food banks around the county, they will be purchasing healthy, fresh produce from the Chesterhill Produce Auction in Morgan County, where locally grown goods can be purchased in bulk and at a reasonable price.

Moore and the rest of Rural Action, along with Gregorino and Donkey Coffee, are inviting everyone to come out to support the cause, and if you want to make a donation, that can be done before, during and after the performances.

For more information about the Chesterhill Produce Auction visit; or for more information about Rural Action and other ways to get involved visit

Gregorino said he will be posting weekly updates to Donkey's Facebook page about the upcoming shows, and says you can also find the listings in The Athens NEWS on the Thursdays before the weekend events.

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