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Do Good, Get Outside

Do Good, Get Outside

Getting outside can mean more than engaging in outdoor sports.  Recently more than 100 people ‘got outside’ in Asheville, NC in the name of volunteerism.  

For 23 years now, the Annual Warren Haynes Presents: The Annual Christmas Jam has brought thousands of music fans to Asheville in December for a benefit concert that has raised nearly $1 million dollars for Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity.  

In recent years, the concert-goers experience has been enriched by the addition of the Merrell Before the Jam, Lend a Hand volunteer event.  In the days leading up to the Jam, local and out-of-town fans unite at Asheville Habitat’s construction sites to help build houses for families in need.  Participants receive Merrell gifts, savor great food (donated by local restaurants), and enjoy the camaraderie of fellow fans as they get involved - in a hands on way - with the cause the concert supports. 

Part of the Jam experience

“It’s like a reunion now.  I stay in touch with folks who live here during the year, but then I get to see all these great people that I met in previous years because people come back for this.  It’s part of the Jam experience now,” says Jake Quinn of Asheville, NC.

Paying it forward

John Voykin (pictured) treks from British Columbia, Canada to attend the Pre-Jam and Xmas Jam and in recent years has come early to lend a hand on the construction site.  A contractor by trade, John has enjoyed Before the Jam, Lend a Hand so much that he convinced his local Contractor’s Association back in Canada to sponsor two Habitat projects there.

Volunteering to make a difference

Despite a tough start this year with heavy rain the first two days, volunteers successfully prepared the 2011 Xmas Jam House for a December 9 wall raising event.  Warren Haynes joined Habitat, Merrell, Before the Jam volunteers, the media, and the homeowner family, to raise the wall of a house made possible by Xmas Jam proceeds.  This year’s partner family was the perfect match, with mom Michelle Bevans being a life-long Warren Haynes and Xmas Jam fan.  A single-mother of two who has always worked in non-profits and education said, “It was hard for me to think of myself as the one who needed assistance.  It has been humbling.  I had to swallow my pride when I submitted my application to Habitat.” Kent Doobrow, Sales Representative for Merrell,  provided the Bevans family with footwear and apparel during the event, and five Merrell employees rolled up their sleeves and volunteered on the site that day.

“It is amazing that playing music can build houses,” said Haynes.  “We make a few phone calls, but really it’s the musicians that play for free and all the volunteers that come out here and help build.”  




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