Support Malawi redevelopment with food trucks, music, art this weekend

This weekend, take some friends out to the “Old” Yellow Cab Building, decide between a variety of delicious food trucks for meal options, view some beautiful local art and enjoy several talented bands. Oh, and in the process, help several Daytonites’ efforts to support the poorest country in the world.

The first annual Malawi Music Festival on June 20 makes it so easy for you to be charitable, and for a unique and important cause: the event’s three organizers are all involved with Determined To Develop, a nonprofit founded by a University of Dayton graduate that works to improve living and educational conditions in Malawi.

For Paige Singleton and Carly Hensley, two University of Dayton graduates, their own school-associated trips to Malawi incited them to become involved in Determined To Develop, and rounded out by Dayton choreographer Katelin Kowalski, they hope the Malawi Music Festival will become a main fundraiser for the nonprofit and an easy route for local young professionals to learn more about the needs in Malawi.

Check out music sets from BJSR, Gin Soaked Angels, Speaking Suns and more

Doors open at 12:30 and music starts at 1 p.m.: Show up early to catch BJSR, the French, Eyeswatter, the New Forest Chapter, and Gin Soaked Angels; and then be sure to stay late for Manray, Flesh Pets, Me Time and Speaking Suns. Artists

The food truck lineup is also delicious, and includes C’est Cheese, Smokin’ Bee-Bee-Q, Bistro de Mohr, Antonio’s Beach, Jimmie’s StrEATery, Smashers, the Drunken Waffle, Kona Ice and El Meson.

You may ask, why help Malawi specifically?

The landlocked African country next to Tanzania, about the size of Pennsylvania, is consistently ranked one of the world’s poorest countries based on GDP per capita by the World Bank, the average age of a Malawian is 17 years old, and HIV/AIDS is extremely prevalent, contributing to over 27 percent of deaths (the number-one cause) in 2012, according to the World Health Organization.  These are just a few indicators of the extreme need in the tiny country.

When Determined To Develop founder Matt Maroon went on a service trip there several years ago, the combination of extreme poverty and poor living conditions, along with the effortless kindness and welcoming attitude that many of the residents showed him despite their living conditions, encouraged him to move permanently to Malawi and dedicate himself to helping change conditions. Singleton, Hensley and Kowalski now work to raise awareness of Determined to Develop in the greater Dayton area along with the University of Dayton chapter of the nonprofit.

“I had never seen poverty on such a level before I went there, and I think you would expect people who had so little to be downtrodden, but they were the happiest people, definitely the ‘Warm Heart of Africa,” Hensley said.

“You realize that you need to be thankful for what you have and realize how important relationships are, because these people who had so little went out of their way to get to know us, because that’s all they had to give,” Singleton said. To see who you would be helping, check out Malawi Music Festival’s Instagram.

All proceeds go straight to Malawi

All of the bands and artists are donating their time and efforts to benefit the concert, and all of the food trucks at the festival will donate a portion of their sales to Determined to Develop. “Everybody has been so excited and so willing to help,” Singleton said. Currently, the organizers plan to donate the proceeds from the festival to Determined to Develop in one large chunk to use as needed, but main efforts right now include building a world-class high school and supporting several nursery schools in the community of Chilumba in northern Malawi.

“We just wanted to take the things that have really helped boost Dayton’s redevelopment, like food trucks and the local music scene, and use them to help boost redevelopment efforts in Malawi,” Singleton said.

Presale tickets available at Friday’s Yellow Cab Food Truck Rally

Though the $7 door tickets shouldn’t break the bank, grab $5 tickets earlier at Friday’s Yellow Cab Food Truck Rally.