Killah Priest returns to Juneau in support of local charity

Killah Priest of the Wu-Tang Clan fame will be returning to Juneau Saturday to headline a musical variety show at the University of Alaska Southeast campus featuring performances from several Alaskan artists. The show is free, but organizers are asking for canned food donations to support the Helping Hands Foodbank of Juneau.

The show will also feature performances from Alaskan artists, Doll Hearts; Jacob Olsen; Janacie Peters, Ericka Lee; Jocyln Miles Zansler; Soapy Smith and Indigo Jen. Seating will be limited from 6:30-10:30 p.m. on July 31 at UAS’ Noyes Pavilion, according to the event announcement, and camping chairs and blankets are recommended, as are masks.

“COVID hit their finances pretty bad,” said Lance Mitchell, one of the show’s organizers, referring to the food bank. Mitchell told the Empire in a phone interview he hoped people would remember the purpose of the show and bring canned goods.

Helping Hands’ Director Karen Fortwengler said she hopes the concert brings in a lot of food as the food bank wasn’t able to do its regular fund-raising events because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Fortwengler said she took over the food bank from her mother who started the bank in 1983.

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“We are all-volunteer, none of us get paid there,” Fortwengler told the Empire, saying the bank gives out food to families twice a week at the Switzer Village recreation center.

Helping Hands is often confused with the Southeast Alaska Food Bank, Fortwengler said, but while the two organizations do the same kind of work in the community they are separate entities.

“We raise our money, do our own food drives,” Fortwengler said. “We are our own separate food bank, if people donate (to the Southeast Alaska Food Bank) we don’t see it.”

Helping Hands is always accepting donations, Fortwengler said, and accepts cash donations as well. Information on how to donate can be found at the Helping Hands of Juneau Facebook page.

The City and Borough of Juneau is seeing an increase in COVID-19 cases, and both the city and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are recommending masking and social distancing be observed in public places, including outdoor crowds, and even by the fully vaccinated.

On Tuesday, Gov. Mike Dunleavy issued a statement asking Alaskans to follow health mitigation strategies in public as the state’s hospitals are nearing capacity.

• Contact reporter Peter Segall at psegall@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @SegallJnuEmpire.

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