Band partners with Oxfam


The band State Radio and their service organization, Calling All Crows, teamed up with the Oxfam America Club at UVM this past weekend to raise awareness about the current global food crisis.

Oxfam America is an international relief and development organization that works to create sustainable solutions to poverty, hunger and injustice, according to the Oxfam website. 

The members of State Radio are ambassadors of Oxfam America and are very supportive of the issues that Oxfam focuses on, according to Oxfam at UVM Chair Courtney Casper. They recognize the importance of women and their crucial role in society, she said. 

The band started working with Oxfam on a project in Sudan that protects women from abuse by providing them with stoves to use in the safety of their camps, State Radio drummer Mike “Mad Dog” Najarian said.

“Rape is a weapon of war in Sudan,” Najarian said. “Women would travel outside their camps to gather cooking supplies and would get raped. The goal of this project was to provide them with stoves so they wouldn’t have to go far from camp.” 

Oxfam at UVM Co-Chair Alyssa Solomon became involved in Oxfam and Calling All Crows through the stoves project, she said.

“Each stove cost $20 and that year [2008,] Calling All Crows raised and donated $100,000 to Oxfam,” Solomon said.

State Radio performed at Higher Ground Friday and Saturday night, according to Casper. Oxfam at UVM and Calling All Crows were present, informing concertgoers of Oxfam’s GROW Campaign, which aims to end world hunger by 2050, she said.

“Oxfam breaks down the hunger crisis in a realistic way,” Casper said. “The GROW Campaign is comprised of five targeted, digestible steps we can all take as a global community to find long-lasting solutions to such a highly complex issue.” 

With the help of Oxfam at UVM, Calling All Crows collected food at the concert and donated it for the Chittenden Food Shelf on Saturday, according to Casper. They also made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for campers at Occupy Burlington, she said. 

Oxfam at UVM also completed a service project by writing letters to Congress on Saturday, urging them to protect funding of poverty-focused development programs and the food stamps program on the FY12 Budget, according to Solomon.

“Volunteers, along with State Radio band member Chad Stokes and his wife, Sybil Gallagher, wrote 34 letters [that will be sent] to Congress,” she said. 

Oxfam at UVM also raised awareness about global hunger in other ways this past month.

During the week of Oct. 16, which marked World Food Day, Oxfam at UVM captured students’ attention with chalking and posters around campus with only the words, “1 BILLION,” according to Casper. 

One week later, they hung banners on central campus that stated, “1 BILLION People Go to Bed Hungry Every Night. Resources are not the problem. Now You Know,” Casper said. 

One of the club’s primary objectives is to inform students that the Earth produces enough food and resources to feed our growing population — it is the unequal distribution of these resources that is the issue, Casper said.

“Fixing the world’s broken food system while empowering women may seem like a daunting battle to fight, but I believe that this club’s actions, as small as they may be, can make a difference,” Solomon said.

For now, the club’s main goal is raising awareness on campus and in the greater Burlington area, Casper said. They will be hosting a rail jam in January called “GROW Big or Go Home,” and “VoiceJam for Oxfam” in March, a concert that was very successful last year. 

To find out more about the Oxfam at UVM Club and how you can get involved visit or email [email protected]