Metro Giving: Rocking out to feed New York City’s hungry

Bill Ayres, right, stands with musician Harry Chapin and activist Joan Gussow in this 1978 photo.

Bill Ayres is fighting hunger with a little help from his friends. But he needs your help, too.

Ayres, who has hosted a New York City-based radio show for the past 36 years, said he’s always been passionate about solving hunger and famine issues. But it wasn’t until musician Harry Chapin, who wrote and performed “Cat’s in the Cradle,” appeared on the show in 1974 that Ayres’ desire to do good really took off.

In 1975, the two formed WhyHunger, a movement to end hunger and poverty by connecting people to nutritious, affordable food.

“We started learning about hunger around the world and in the U.S.,” Ayres recalls.

Chapin unexpectedly died in 1981 in a car accident, but Ayres continued the nonprofit on his own. Today WhyHunger, which is based in Midtown, has grown into a national organization that has raised more than $12 million. In 1978, Ayres launched a national hot line (1-866-3-HUNGRY), which provides emergency food.

Recently, WhyHunger introduced the “Imagine There’s no Hunger” campaign with the help of Yoko Ono. It allows people to purchase bracelets through the Hard Rock Cafe to raise money.

But the organization is best known for its annual Hungerthon auction, which occurs this month.

On Nov. 19 and 22, Ayres will take over radio waves on Sirius XM, CBS, Clear Channel and Univision. On those days each radio station will continue its normal programming, but Ayres will appear as a guest, to encourage listeners to bid on rock memorabilia online. All money raised from the auction will go to fight hunger.

Up for bid

The annual Hungerthon auction runs from Nov. 9 through Nov. 30. Bid on items below on Hungerthon.org:
   
Items from NY sports teams
A guitar autographed by Bruce Springsteen
A guitar autographed by Taylor Swift
A day of golf with Chris ‘Mad Dog’ Russo



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