After hearing that the Red Barn Youth Center might have to close because of a lack of money, the Bluegrass Minstrels chose the nonprofit to receive funding from this year’s Annual Christmas Revelry event.
“I am from the Key Peninsula, and I picked up (The Peninsula Gateway) yesterday and saw the article on the Red Barn,” band member Dorene Paterson wrote in an email to the newspaper. “We agree it is very important work on the Key Peninsula. Each year our band chooses a nonprofit to benefit with our annual Christmas Revelry. This year we want to sponsor The Red Barn.”
The youth center offers meals, homework help, classes and free activities to students in middle school and high school on the Key Peninsula. For some students, it’s the only chance they have to eat after school or work on their studies.
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The Red Barn lost corporate grants earmarked for utilities, food, heating and cooling and more, according to its executive director Clint Rosson. Because of this, the nonprofit has enough money to keep the doors open for only one or two more months, unless employees forgo their salaries.
Rosson said grants from local entities such as Pierce County and other nonprofits can be used for the Red Barn’s infrastructure, but can’t be used for general operations.
The Bluegrass Minstrels is a nine-member band comprised of multiple pastors, including some from WayPoint Church on the Key Peninsula, one of the founding organizations that made the youth center a possibility.
The local WayPoint church came up with the idea for the Red Barn in the 1990s.
“It began by the local churches,” Rosson said. “They saw there was a huge need out here for the students to do something after school. They weren’t sure what type of form it was going to take.”
Today the Red Barn is an independent nonprofit.
“We are not affiliated with any church or parent nonprofit,” Rosson said.
That means the Red Barn can control its program and offer a space to all students looking for a place to hang out and work on their studies. It also means there is no large fund to pull from during lean years.
Each year, the Bluegrass Minstrels hosts a Christmas concert to support local nonprofits. In the past, the band has supported the Key Peninsula Mustard Seed project and the Hope Recovery Center. In 2015, it raised funds for the Red Barn.
The date of the Christmas Revelry will be announced soon, Paterson said. The event will include live music, food and dancing on the Key Peninsula. A $6 donation is required with all money going to the Red Barn Youth Center.
Danielle Chastaine: 253-358-4155, @gateway_danie