INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — The Salvation Army of Indian River County has announced that former foster kid turned country music star and author of his bestselling autobiography “Walk to Beautiful” will be the keynote speaker and musical entertainment at the ”Soap, Soup and Salvation” Benefit Dinner Presented by Publix Supermarkets and Hot Country 94.7 on April 9, from 5 to 8:30 p.m. at The Oak Harbor Club House in Vero Beach.
Jimmy Wayne is a former foster kid turned country music singer/songwriter whose songs and story highlight his mission to bring awareness to kids who age out of the foster system and become homeless.
With hits such as “Put Your Hand In Mine,” “I Love You This Much,” and “Paper Angels,” he released “Do You Believe Me Now,” his biggest hit to date for which he earned the millionaire award for having one million radio spins in America.
In 2009, Wayne toured with Brad Paisley and recorded “Sara Smile” with Daryl Hall and John Oates. In 2010, he walked halfway across America to raise awareness for kids aging out of the foster care system.
On Jan. 1, 2010, Wayne set out on a 1,660-mile solo-hike from Nashville, Tenn., to Phoenix, Ariz., to raise awareness about youth and more specifically children aging out of the foster system.
Called the “Meet Me Halfway” campaign, he walked 25 miles a day, only coming off the walk for scheduled concerts and to go to the California State Capitol to speak in favor of a bill that would increase the age kids age of the foster system from 18 to 21.
He successfully arrived in Phoenix on Aug. 1, 2010 after suffering a broken foot four days prior, having successfully walked 1,700 miles over seven months. Even after completing his walk, Wayne continues to advocate for foster children.
“Paper Angels” is a song co-written and recorded by Jimmy Wayne. It was released in October 2004 as the fourth single from his debut album Jimmy Wayne. Wayne wrote the song with Don Sampson.
The song is about the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program, in which the organization decorates a Christmas tree with paper angels representing children who are in need. In 2011, Wayne co-wrote the Paper Angels book with Travis Thrasher. That might have been the end of the story until Wayne went on Linked In and pitched the idea for a movie to producer Maura Dunbar.
“I said, ‘Hey, I’ve got this book called Paper Angels and it’s a free agent right now. Would you like to read it and maybe film a movie about it?'” Wayne recalls. “It was a long shot, but she contacted me back shortly after and said, ‘I want to do this.’ The Movie was released on DVD in November 2015.
The Salvation Army brings hope to anyone without discrimination of their situations. As many people know, much of Wayne’s life has been filled with the battles that have left him without hope. Wayne is very appreciative of the opportunities that have come his way and the platform they give him to shine a light on the plight of foster kids and organizations that help needy children like the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program.
“Hopefully what it does is raise more awareness,” he says. “New doors are opening which allow me speak to a new audience, which allows opportunities to help more people.”
The event will begin at 5 p.m. with light hors d’oeuvres and cocktails from the cash bar sponsored by WellCare, a silent auction sponsored by Summit Marketing and a surf and turf dinner. The festivities will be followed by Wayne performing and discussing all his successes, his battles and failures along with the experiences that brought him to where he is today.
Wayne will perform his top hits to coincide with his book “Walk to Beautiful” and show exclusive video of his journey walking from Tennessee to Arizona (The Meet Me Half Way Campaign) showing folks he met along the way and the experiences and conditions he endured.
Wayne’s passion is being able to make a difference in the lives of others. He will also discuss his passion for what The Salvation Army does in the community for the less fortunate through the Angel Tree Program and the Social Services department by providing food, clothing, utilities and rental assistance that help to prevent homelessness in Indian River County, and the Mobile Feeding Canteen that provides meals to the home bound each week.
No ticket is required for this event, donation is requested. The Salvation Army will ask for a donation at the end of the night that will be matched by one anonymous donor up to $10,000.
Table sponsorship is available for $1,200 for a table of 10 attendees which will include an autographed copy of Jimmy Wayne’s book “Walk to Beautiful” for each member of a sponsored table.
The Salvation Army, an evangelical part of the universal Christian church, has been supporting those in need in His name without discrimination since 1865. Nearly 30 million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army.
Each year, the organization delivers an array of social services that range from providing food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter to the homeless and opportunities for underprivileged children in this community. About 84 cents of every dollar raised at this event will be used to carry out those services right here in Indian River County.
For more information about this event or to make a contribution to The Salvation Army of IRC benefit dinner, send an email to John_Corapi@uss.salvationarmy.org or mail your matching contribution to The Salvation Army of IRC PO Box 2864 Vero Beach Fl 32961 or to RSVP call 978-0265 x104.