Award-winning country music star returns to Buchanan to help his community

Published: Sep. 26, 2019 at 5:46 AM EDT
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For the 9th year, Grammy- and country music award-winning artists are coming to one of our hometowns Saturday, Sept. 28. It's called

As the event has continued to grow over the years so has the impact.

The money collected has gone to what is now called the Ramsey Foundation. The non-profit funds various needs in the area, including a local food pantry inside Buchanan Presbyterian Church.

"We're inside the food pantry that is overseen by BAMA which is the Buchanan Area Ministerial Association," Peggy Ramsey, one of the pantry's organizers, said.

For nearly 10 years, this food pantry has given away canned goods to thousands of county residents, but it wasn't always easy to keep the shelves stocked.

"It was a little bit hard to staff and supply," Ramsey said. "I guess about a year into it, Matthew, my son, called my husband, Tom, and asked if there was anything he could do to help the community."

Her son Matthew is Matthew Ramsey, lead singer for the award-winning country music band Old Dominion. In 2011, he organized the first benefit concert called Nashville Night in Buchanan.

"He brought three songwriters," Peggy Ramsey said. "And they held it at the Buchanan theater. They performed for just a small crowd of about 100 people, but they raised a little bit of money, about $1000, I guess."

A far cry from the 1,000 people who attended in 2018 and raised $30,000.

"Take me back to 10 years ago, your very first concert for this food pantry," WDBJ7's Katey Roshetko said. "Did you have any idea how big it would grow in the next ten years?"

"Oh no. Never," Ramsey laughed. "No, we had a hard time getting people to buy tickets!"

Not any more. This year there are nearly 1,500 sold out seats, 500 more than last year.

As the singers and songwriters' fame continue to grow and their awards stack up, Matthew Ramsey and his Nashville friends return to Buchanan year after year.

"They have been a huge provider for this, raising a lot of money, thousands of dollars for this. He has a big heart and is always ready to help," Ramsey said proudly of her son.

The BAMA food pantry has served thousands of people over the years.

"They're just people who have come upon hard times, jobs or health, or whatever it is," Ramsey explained. "There is no requirement other than living in the county."

And though the benefit concert is put on by Matthew Ramsey and his friends, it's the residents who have made it grow year after year.

"This community is a great community. They're always willing to help," Ramsey said.

Not only will 100% of ticket sales go toward the Ramsey Foundation; there will be several items raffled off, t-shirts for sale, and canned food collected. Overall it's a community effort that looks to take care of their own.

"You know everybody and everybody will help when there's hard times. And everybody will support you, they'll cry with you, they'll laugh with you, they'll celebrate with you," Ramsey said. "And they have done nothing but be supportive of Matthew and whatever he's doing. And it really warms your heart. "

is Saturday, Sept. 28 at 7 p.m. inside the gymnasium at James River High School. Tickets can be purchased through the event's Facebook page.

Ramsey said that along with regular canned goods, the pantry is also in need of larger items like jugs of apple juice, Cheerios, and boxes of crackers. Everyone who brings a donation to the concert will be entered to win a $100 cash prize donated by the Bank of Botetourt.

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