Practicing Empathy: Jeff Foxworthy’s Backyard Bash Takeaway

By Clint Fluker, MedShare’s Faiths Act Fellow

It is said that knowledge is power. Therefore, lack of proper directions—knowledge—can leave you stranded and feeling, well, powerless. For example, on Thursday, September 22, 2011, I turned hurriedly into the church parking lot to find a parking space. To my surprise, the lot was nearly empty. This seemed rather strange considering the heavily advertised Jeff Foxworthy Backyard Bash started at 7:30pm and the hour was soon approaching. All over the city people have been looking forward to this event; a comedy benefit where all proceeds would go to eight Atlanta-based nonprofits, including MedShare.

Backyard Bash

Yet, here I was parked outside the church doors, alone, watching a couple bicker over the contents of their takeaway bag from the restaurant up the street. Perplexed, I called my partner Sana (a.k.a driving directions hotline) and explained my dilemma. She quickly confirmed my suspicions. I was two blocks away from Buckhead Church, not to be confused with Buckhead Baptist Church, where I was presently situated. She then berated me to move quickly because I had her ticket to the event.

When I finally arrived and we entered the Buckhead Church sanctuary together, Foxworthy had already started his routine about thought conundrums that continued to plague him despite turning 50. For example, colonoscopies, dietary habits of canines, Cajun accents, toilet paper discussions with his wife, and the innovative science of packing tissue boxes.

Then, the host of “Who’s Smarter than a Fifth Grader” transitioned from a routine about his personal lack of knowledge to a testimony about a potential wealth found through empathy. He discussed his recent work with the Atlanta Mission, an organization focused on ending homelessness. Foxworthy told us a story about a young man in college, who over the course of his life had lost his entire immediate family to suicides. The last death drove him over the edge into homelessness. He told the audience about how hearing this man’s story helped him realize this story could have been his own.

Foxworthy continued by sharing how he used to view the homeless in a negative light until he visited the Atlanta Mission and listened to their stories. “This man could have been me,” he kept saying, urging the crowd to put ourselves in this young man’s shoes. Practicing empathy in this way allows us a new understanding of our surroundings such that we see the person and not the problem.

In this light, Foxworthy explained life isn’t all about personal choices. Sometimes, we are dealt a difficult hand and just need a little help to get us back on our feet. This closing testimony reminded me of the purpose behind working with MedShare and the Faiths Act Fellowship this year. Even if we don’t have all the money, power, or knowledge in the world, we can make a positive difference if we open our hearts to each other’s stories and lend a helping hand.

To read other Tony Blair Faiths Act Fellows blog posts, visit their website here.

CBS Atlanta: Jeff Foxworthy looks for laughs to help local charities

Jeff Foxworthy

Remember Jeff Foxworthy’s Backyard Bash event at Buckhead Church we told you about?  It’s tonight! The event will support 8 Atlanta charities, one of which is MedShare. If you’d like to go, but haven’t bought tickets yet, not to worry… they’re still available and can be purchased here.

Need more information? CBS Atlanta posted great information on their site, which we’ve shared with you below:

ATLANTA (CBS ATLANTA) - You probably know him best for his famous “You might be a redneck if…” jokes and as the host of the game show “Are you smarter than a 5th grader?” But Thursday night Atlanta-based comedian Jeff Foxworthy will lend his talents to a night of laughter to raise funds for several local non-profits.

It’s the second year he’s teamed up with an Atlanta mega-church for Jeff Foxworthy’s Backyard Bash. Last year the event raised $150,000 for three community organizations.

This year, the event will be held at Buckhead Church, one of five campuses of North Point Ministries, of which Andy Stanley is the senior pastor. Foxworthy is a long-time supporter of the organization.

The Backyard Bash will include music from several live bands in addition to Foxworthy’s comedy routine. It will be held at Buckhead Church Thursday night at 7:30.

This year, all the proceeds will go to eight local non-profits: Atlanta Mission, Atlanta Community Ministries, Buckhead Christian Ministry, Charis Community Housing, The Furniture Bank of Metro Atlanta, MedShare, Open Hand, and Woodson Elementary School.

Tickets are $50 each. There are still some available and can be purchased online or at the door.

MedShare and Backyard Bash on 11Alive

Earlier this week, we told you about Backyard Bash, an event on September 22nd at Buckhead Church that will benefit eight charities in Atlanta.

11Alive featured Backyard Bash and MedShare during a special part of their morning news, Mugs in the Morning, and we wanted to share the video with you. Click here to view.

For more information or to purchase tickets, please visit www.backyardbash2011.org. Tickets are $50 per person.

September 22, 2011
7:30 pm
Buckhead Church
Atlanta, GA

*When purchasing, please note that you heard about the event through MedShare.

Laugh for a good cause!

We all know that laughing is good for the body and soul, but did you know it can be good for your community, too?

Join Jeff Foxworthy on September 22nd for Backyard Bash, a special evening of music, learning and laughing aimed at giving our community a hand up. Times are tough, and there are people in our own backyard who are struggling to find assistance with education, job placement and healthcare. You can help by attending this event whose proceeds will go to benefit eight Atlanta charities, one of which is MedShare.

September 22, 2011
7:30 pm
Buckhead Church
Atlanta, GA

For more information or to purchase tickets, please visit www.backyardbash2011.org. Tickets are $50 per person.

*When purchasing, please note that you heard about the event through MedShare.