The Levins played at the Bergen-Rockland Music Festival last Sunday and kicking off the show was Tom Chapin who sang with his daughters, the Chapin Sisters. I have sang for children for years and one of the great staple songs that bridges generations is Tom’s song, This Pretty Planet. Tom said they used to wake the astronauts up with it. The festival was also raising awareness for Why Hunger which Tom’s brother Harry Chapin started as World Hunger Year in 1975. After Harry’s tragic car crash in 1981, Tom and his family kept W.H.Y. going and ten years ago the name was changed to Why Hunger.
After we played, we got to meet Bill Ayers who co-founded W.H.Y. with Harry. It brought tears to my eyes seeing the honest appreciation Bill had for us giving them a plug during our set. When you see people who have dedicated themselves to helping other people who are suffering, it humbles you in a profound way.
“So, in a world that has enough food to feed everybody twice over, and yet half a billion people are starving, and a country where there is enough food to feed everybody six times over and yet 20 million Americans are malnourished, there is something really basically wrong in the structure; otherwise we wouldn’t have these symptoms.”- Harry Chapin
Harry also inspired the Harry Chapin Food Bank. Here is an amazing video of the Mobile Food pantry feeding over 350 families in a day:
“The reason I fight for the arts as well as against hunger is because the arts are the qualitative way, are the effective way, are the traditional way we learn to make value decisions about who and what we are.”- Harry Chapin