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Tonight’s benefit concert to help Spokane refugees

World Relief Spokane will be putting on its first benefit concert tonight at the Bing Crosby Theater. Crème Tangerine, a Seattle-based Beatles tribute band, will be doing the honors. The concert will be at 6:30 p.m.

“They’re very well known in the Seattle area, and they came to Spokane a little less than two years ago,” said Mark Kadel, director of World Relief Spokane. “I went to their concert and asked them afterwards if they ever did benefit concerts. They said ‘yes,’ and they knew about World Relief and said ‘we’d love to do that.’ So this is the making of about a year and a half…they do really good, they sound just like them [The Beatles].”

The tickets are $12 from World Relief’s website, or $13.50 from Tickets West.

“There’s going to be a freewill offering—like you have at a lot of concerts, especially Christian concerts—where at the intermission they’ll talk about World Relief for a few minutes and pass the bucket, if you want to contribute, fine, if you don’t, that’s fine too,” Kadel explained. “If you contribute at intermission, that’s going towards our refugee resettlement program here in Spokane… it goes directly to the refugees. World Relief only has a 10 percent overhead, so $.90 of every dollar they contribute goes directly to the refugees, and the money stays here in Spokane.”
Keeping the money local has its benefits to donors too. “Nothing against child-sponsorship overseas and all that, but the money stays here in our local economy and gets turned over at least 10 times in our local economy as we use it to support refugees while they’re getting their feet on the ground.”

World Relief is hoping to raise around $10,000 at this concert.

Which refugees will be helped by the money being donated? “It’s a wide range of different refugees from around the world arriving every week,” said Kadel. “The bigger groups right now are arriving from Burma, from Iraq, we’re getting quite a few from Sudan, from Congo and also Eritria. Those are the biggest groups we’re getting right now. Then we get a smattering of other groups from various other areas, including Cuba.”

According to the World Relief Spokane website, since 1992, the organization has also assisted refugees from Afghanistan, Bhutan, Bosnia, Burundi, Ethiopia, the former Soviet Union, Iran, Liberia, Somalia and Vietnam.

Though World Relief Spokane’s focus is predominantly assisting refugees, it provides a number of programs and pursues other goals. “We also have an immigration department here in Spokane as well to help with immigration issues.” Human trafficking has been another project World Relief has been tackling in recent years.

It’s been a long time in the making — 2 years — but this benefit concert promises not only to provide great entertainment, but to help Spokane and people from all over the world in the process, Kadel said. “Here’s an opportunity to hear a really good band, at a wonderful facility with incredible acoustics, and just have a fun evening out and at the same time support a great cause here in Spokane.”

Mark Kadel is a Spokane Faith & Values contributor.

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