Students in Brian Pentland’s ITM 444 class, Information Technology Project Management, have applied their skills to launch a social media platform called We Sing for Food. The platform promotes original music from Michigan musicians while raising money for the Greater Lansing Food Bank. The website allows individuals to download original songs provided by Michigan artists in exchange for donations that go directly to the food bank.
A musician himself, Brian often spent his MSU football Saturdays singing and strumming his guitar raising money for the Greater Lansing Food Bank. He also collected money for the Food Bank at other live performances, but his idea was simply to move the process online, so that the music could be available and donations made 24/7. “The trick was to create an avenue for local singer-songwriters to get some visibility and also raise money for the food bank. He worked with a team of seniors in the class, Ron Brown, Courtney Houldsworth, and Ryan Miceli, to design and implement the concept.
The tag line for the Facebook page is simple: “donate a dollar, download a song.” A song can be downloaded for a minimum donation of $1; a 10-track album for $7. Although one dollar may not seem to go very far these days, every song downloaded enables the food bank to purchase seven pounds of food – enough to feed a family of four a complete meal. Kim Gladstone, development manager for the food bank, says that “…many people are underemployed and earn lower wages than they did before,” and she noted that 24 percent of its recipients report having to choose between buying food and paying for utilities.
Most of the bands featured on the site play folk, bluegrass, and alternative-rock music. Visit the site, wesingforfood.bandcap.com, download some music, and for sure, listen to our own Brian Pentland.