how to help

Sanctuary for Daniel Neyoy Ruiz at Southside Presbyterian in Tucson

Alison HarringtonRev. Alison Harrington is a young minister at Southside Presbyterian Church in Tucson, Arizona. She is also the daughter of Revs. Steve and Nancy Harrington – Nancy married us in 2002. While in seminary, she coached a men’s softball team at San Quentin Prison.

Don’t mess with Alison.

As you might imagine, a California girl with a family and upbringing steeped in social justice has a lot on her mind and a lot on her hands, serving a community in Tucson Arizona. She does it with grace, strength, and most of all, love.

On Tuesday May 13, Alison and the congregation at Southside Presbyterian opened their doors to provide public sanctuary to Daniel Neyoy Ruiz, who faces deportation and separation from his wife Karla, and their son Carlos.

On Alison’s Groundswell page, she explains “what we are asking ICE (US Immigration and Customs Enforcement) to do, is something they do every day. The Obama administration has said that people like Daniel – individuals with no criminal history, with strong ties to the community, and with US Citizen children are a low priority for deportations and he has said recently that we should not be in the business of tearing apart families.”


Daniel Ruiz FamilyIn an editorial published in the Arizona Daily Star, Alison says “throughout scriptures, people of faith are called to care for the orphan and the widow, but when it is a broken immigration system that is creating orphans and widows, we need to start intervening sooner.”

This is not the first time Southside Presbyterian has offered public sanctuary.

Alison continues… “Offering sanctuary to Neyoy Ruiz was something we prayerfully and carefully considered because we do not take this action lightly. As one of the founding churches of the Sanctuary Movement of the 1980s, we know there are risks involved and we know there is a great deal of work ahead as we reorient the life of our church around caring for this family.”

This is truly a case where a small act of love by many individuals and change the world. Will you help?

Loving Colorado and Dreaming of Rain, a gift from Jan Garrett & JD Martin

Its all over the news, Colorado is being hit by heat, extreme low humidity and the worst wildfire season in its history.

Colorado is near and dear to our hearts for many reasons. Greg lived and played music in the Aspen area during the late 1970s, and that experience had a big influence on hint of country rock that seeps into the songs we write today.

We also have a lot of friends in Colorado. We were just there this past weekend for a music conference, and witnessed first hand what it’s like to be anywhere close to a raging wildfire. When we drove north from the Denver area last Monday, we didn’t get clear of the eye-stinging, throat parching smoke until we were half way through Wyoming.

Since we’ve been back we’ve been seeing the heart breaking images of the Waldo Canyon Fire near Colorado Springs, and we’re gratefully getting reports via Facebook that the Flagstaff Fire near Boulder was largely contained and didn’t force friends from their homes. And we’re hoping that our friends near Ft. Collins are safe from the High Park Fire that started just West of there more than a week ago.

The people of Colorado are doing what people do… raising funds to help the displaced families, housing evacuees, praising the firemen. Help Colorado Now is a new Web site sponsored by the Colorado Department of Emergency Management and Colorado Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster. Its a good place to start, to determine how you can best help.

Dreaming of Rain

Here’s something everyone can do. Dream of rain for Colorado. A lush, drenching, cleansing rain.

Several years ago, our friends Jan Garrett and JD Martin recorded a beautiful song called “I Dreamed of Rain.”  It began as a poem that Jan wrote in the midst of the devastating Colorado wildfires ten years ago… “I dreamed of rain, and then it rained for real and even the pictures on the wall looked fresher, the colors washed clean…”

They  have been known the perform this song in drought-ridden areas, to find at the end of the evening that it has indeed begun to rain.Visioning is a powerful thing.

Jan and JD are gifting this song to you, to us, to everyone… to dream, sing and dance for rain. Download it at the link below. You’ll also be able to download the original poem and the story behind the song. Spread it wide, and please dream of rain for Colorado.





Julian Rock Memorial: Spreading love in the wake of tragedy

Julian Thorvund lived just two days, but the love he brought into this world continues through the commitment his parents have made, in his memory, to help families in similar situations. You can read more about Don and Becky’s story on their blog.

After struggling with the pain of losing Julian, Don and Becky Thorvund wanted to do something positive to help other families. From the Julian Rock Memorial Web site:

“In his memory, it is our desire to help other children and families with catastrophic pediatric diseases. If we can help one child live a longer, happier life or prevent one parent from having to choose a casket and flowers for their child, then our Julian’s memory will live on with others as well.”

Don and Becky started the Julian Rock Memorial in 2011 with a benefit concert and silent auction, raising more than $7,000 for St. Jude Children’s Hospital. It has become an annual event, and continues this year. We’re so privileged that we’ve been invited to perform at the concert here in San Jose.

Julian Rock Memorial Benefit          

Join the event

Sunday May 20, 2012 – 11 am  to 5 pm
Guitar Showcase
3090 South Bascom, San Jose


The Dan Goghs – 11:30-12:15
Hang Jones – 12:30-1:15
Dedicated Maniacs 1:30-2:15
Bev Barnett & Greg Newlon – 2:30 – 3:15
Ghost Town Hangmen– 3:30 – 5:00

The silent auction includes instruments, accessories and rock memorabilia from Godin Guitars, USA Custom Gutiars, Steve Vai, Greg Khin, Riverdogs, John Mayer, Fretted Americana, Duran Duran, Dave Navarro and many others.

If you’re in town, come out and hear some great music, and bid on some terrific silent auction items. Even if you’re not able to attend the benefit, you can donate to St. Jude’s through the Julian Rock web site.


Teachers: their love changes the world every day, and Donors Choose helps you help them

Robert Pronovost is a second grade teacher at Belle Haven Elementary, a San Francisco Bay Area high poverty school that sits in the shadow of Facebook, Google and Apple. He’s a strong proponent of effectively using technology in his classroom – he has a classroom set of iPod touches, Macbooks and iPads.  And they weren’t donated by those high powered Silicon Valley Companies – they were donated by caring individuals, through

So given all that technology, what did Mr. Provonost do over Spring Break last year? Well, it really wasn’t all that technical, but it certainly shows a creativity and love for teaching. As soon as the last student left the classroom, he started sanding. Each desk. He sanded, primed, sanded, primed and sanded again… then painted the desks, work tables and the door with white board paint.

Why? So his students could write on their desks. That’s right. He WANTS them to write on their desks.

Since then, the magical things have happened – all from a decidedly non-technical change to Mr. Pronovosts’ classroom. Read more about it on here on his blog.

It may not have been a technology project, but whiteboard paint isn’t exactly cheap – this was another project that was funded by Donors Choose.

There are thousands of projects, with more being posted daily. Whether you want to support a school in your own backyard or across the country – whether you believe in funding academics or arts – there is something that will pique your interest on the Donors Choose Web site.

So why not start shopping now? Thousands of teachers post projects to donors choose, so there’s no shortage of options for you if you’d like to help a teacher fulfill a dream for his or her classroom.

We’ve just contributed to Mrs. Antilla”s plan to teacher her class music this year at Canterbury Elementary School in Arleta, California. She’s fund raising for recorders and music books for her classroom on Donors Choose and she’s got less than $50 to go.  All donors get thank you notes from the project teacher – the person who completes the project with the last donation required gets a whole slew of thank you knows from the students. C’mon… just think about opening that package with all those wonderful notes of gratitude.

CLICK HERE to complete Mrs. Antilla’s Music Education Project. Put those recorders in those little hands, and let’s just see what happens!


When you know you can’t do it all

“Will you stand by and do nothing, because you cannot do it all…”
– Ellen Stapenhorst

We delivered 25 coats and $110 in cash donations to Sacred Heart Community Service in San Jose after our November 13 concert and One Warm Coat Drive here in Santa Clara California.

But when there are so many large and very successful One Warm Coat drives underway all around us, we were tempted to feel like we hadn’t done enough. We hadn’t managed to motivate thousands – or even hundreds – of people to donate, after all.

Then, on the way home, we thought of a song written by our friend Ellen Stapenhorst. Ellen sang the song at the Artichoke Music concert we shared with her in Portland at the beginning of November.

If not you, then who?
If not now, then when?
Will you stand by and do nothing, because you cannot do it all…

We can’t do it all, none of us can. But that doesn’t mean we can’t do SOMETHING.

The folks at Sunnyvale Presbyterian Church know that as well. For the past 24 years, they have hosted an Alternative Gift Fair on the Sunday after Thanksgiving, through Alternative Gifts International. Last year,  Sunnyvale Presbyterian represented the largest AGI donor group in the US.

Our friends at Sunnyvale Pres invited us to provide musical inspiration at this year’s Alternative Gift Fair services on November 27, along with several other outstanding musicians. We were so thrilled to sing “There’s a Light,” but as is typical, we were the ones who ended up being inspired.

Alternative Gifts International offers a way for each of us to give a gift of life and hope, in the name of those on our gift list. And large or small, when these gifts are collected they make a real difference in the lives of people all over the world. For example, a hen for a child in Bolivia is just $27. A solar oven for a family in The Gambia is $17. A book for a library in Nicaragua is $6. Groceries for homeless family in the US or Canada for one week is $45. Legal fees for a girl rescued from sexual slavery in India are $77, and 1 day of post court care is $44.

Love Without BoundariesHere’s one that spoke to us.  Love Without Boundaries has been providing high-quality infant formula to orphaned children in China since 2003, with dramatic results. When children are fed high-quality formula, all aspects of their health improve. In addition, specialized formula is provided to orphans with specific needs, such as premature infants and those who fail to thrive, saving the lives of many vulnerable babies each year.

Through Alternative Gifts International, you can donate 1 case of high-quality formula for $110. Or, you can donate one week’s worth of formula for $8. Perhaps you can’t afford to purchase a case, but why not purchase a week’s worth? For the infant who gets that formula for that week, that is enough.

We can’t do it all ourselves, but we can find ways to do what we can. Click here to donate to Health and Hope for Infants in China and to find out about all the projects you can support through Alternative Gifts International.

Listening to Our Own Words: Love Can Change The World CD Release Nov. 13

Our new CD, Love Can Change The World, has been out for a little over a month. Airplay around the US and in Europe is increasing, and we’re getting wonderful feedback on the songs, arrangements, production, and most importantly, the message.

A few months ago, we were on track to orchestrate a BIG CD release event here in the San Francisco Bay Area. We were looking at renting a theater, creating a plan for sponsorship, dreaming about sets and banners and using the BIG lights… you get the picture.

Then, we remembered what this collection of songs is really about. It reflects where we are – where a lot of us are – in our lives. It’s about simplification. It’s about paying attention to what’s important. It’s about being grateful for the love in our lives. It’s about understanding that what we already have is exactly what we need. It’s about recognizing that all around us – from the poorest village in Africa to right here in the Bay Area – there are children who are hungry. People who are cold. Families who need help.

So, we’re celebrating the release of Love Can Change The World on a smaller stage, at Mission City Coffee Roasting in Santa Clara California. And we’re combining it with a One Warm Coat drive to benefit Sacred Heart Community Services in San Jose. This alone won’t change the world, but it’s something we can do, to start.

7:00 pm Sunday November 13, 2011
Doors open at 6:30 for dinner, seating and coat donations

Mission City Coffee Roasting Company
2221 The Alameda, Santa Clara California

Bev Barnett & Greg Newlon, with Dan Robbins on bass, John Hasty on drums, Dave Allender on guitar and Deborah Thacker on harmony vocals

We are not selling tickets in advance, but reservations are highly recommended as this is an intimate listening room.


We’re offering two ticket choices, payable by cash or check at the door:

$10 plus the donation of One Warm Coat (or more)
$20, which includes a $10 donation to Sacred Heart Community Services

If you’re in the Bay Area, we hope you can join us. Love CAN change the world, and we all can play a part.

One Warm Coat

It’s turned cold here in Northern California. Now, I know that sounds silly to those of you in actual COLD climates, but it did dip into the 40s today, and in my book, that’s not shorts and t shirt weather.

So now, before we head for the door I go to the front closet to grab a coat. The black fleece cloak is great to throw on for running to the store. The brown utilitarian Dickie’s coat is great if I’ll be walking around outside for awhile, and I’ll grab the white rain coat if it looks wet outside. Then there’s my leather coat for when I’m more dressed up… a ski jacket, a beautiful satin-lined Paco Soler jacket (white with elephants and palm trees) … the list goes on.

Not only do I not have to be cold, I have choices.

Not so with countless others in our community – and yours. Warm coats are an ongoing need for agencies that serve the needs of the homeless and the growing number of families living at or below the poverty level. The One Warm Coat organization is national non-profit that supports and encourages coat drives.  It helps individuals, groups, companies and organizations across the country collect coats and deliver them to local agencies that distribute the coats free to people in need.   More than one million coats have been provided to those in need at no cost since its inception in 1992.

Along with others in the Bay Area, including SF Weekly and the Peninsula Jewish Community Center, we’re sponsoring a One Warm Coat drive this holiday season. As a close to our two-year TrueWind Acoustic Fridays Concert Series, we’re celebrating the season with a fun evening of songs and their writers. Hans York, Steve Kritzer, Claudia Russell & the Folk Unlimited Orchestra and us… Bev Barnett & Greg Newlon.

The admission price? One warm coat, of course.

Friday December 17, 2010
Doors open at 7:00 pm – Music starts at 7:30 pm
Mission City Coffee Roasting Company
2221 The Alameda, Santa Clara California

Bring a warm coat, or cash/check donation for Sacred Heart Community Services of San Jose. We’ll be delivering the donations to Sacred Heart during the following week.

Sacred Heart’s mission is to build a community free from poverty by creating hope, opportunity, and action. The agency, founded in 1964, provides essential services, empowers people to improve their lives, advocates for justice, and inspires volunteers to love, serve, and share.

That kind of love can absolutely change the world.

— Bev Barnett