When he found out his friends’ plans for an unassuming, one-story home standing on a modest, tree-lined street in the southeastern plains of Kansas, Jared Cramblet thought “that was the best idea I’d ever heard—buying a house across the street from Westboro Baptist Church and painting it the color of the Pride flag.”
Thus began Cramblet’s relationship with Planting Peace, an international nonprofit founded in 2003 by Destin native and 2007 CNN Hero Aaron Jackson. During the last 14 years, the organization has worked to make the world a better place by taking on various humanitarian and environmental initiatives around the world, advocating on behalf of everything from parasite-ridden youth in Haiti to Peruvian rainforests.
Cramblet founded his company, Namesake Entertainment, three years ago and spends his days booking and managing local bands on a regional level. To help support Planting Peace’s work, he’s booked a seven-band lineup for the fourth annual BoJamz fundraiser, slated for 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday, March 26, at Boshamps Seafood & Oyster House, located at 414 Harbor Blvd. in Destin.
The event will feature drinks, food, a silent auction and live music from Shenanigans (11 a.m.), New Earth Army (12:30 p.m.), the Good Lookings (2 p.m.), Post Pluto (3:30 p.m.), Continuum (5 p.m.), Heritage (6:30 p.m.) and Zach Deputy (8 p.m.).
Headliner Deputy is a Savannah-based multi-instrumentalist whose style combines everything from soul to reggae and hip-hop. His most recent release, 2016’s Wash It in the Water, was reviewed in the March 9-22 Beachcomber.
There is a suggested $10 donation at the door, and Cramblet says about a quarter of the funds raised each year come from the silent auction, organized this year by his wife, Kelby Schweickert. Local businesses have donated the items that will be auctioned, including a paddleboard from BOTE, a spear gun from Benthic Ocean Sports, beer basket from Chan’s Wine World, and gift certificates to local eateries such as Harbor Docks and McGuire’s.
As a champion of the environment, Planting Peace has purchased and protected more than 600 acres of rainforest in Peru, and donated more than one million tree seeds to help mitigate the effects of deforestation, largely in impoverished Haiti.
On the humanitarian front, the 501(c)(3) runs orphanages in Haiti and India, and advocates for the LGBTQ community, including operating Equality House. It stands defiantly in front of the headquarters of the Topeka, Kansas headquarters of Westboro Baptist Church, widely known for its hate speech against the LGBTQ community and protesting at military funerals.
But Cramblet says the project he’s now most interested in supporting is the de-worming campaign in Haiti, which was ravished by last year’s Hurricane Matthew. One hundred percent of the proceeds from BoJamz will go toward that effort, he emphasizes.
“It costs a penny-and-a-half to rid a child of intestinal parasites (which) can consume up to 25 percent of any nourishment that the child is receiving” in a place where proper nutrition is already a problem, he says.
Attendance at BoJamz has “grown tremendously” each year since its inception, Cramblet says, last year drawing more than 1,300 participants and raising $15,000, for a combined total of $35,000 since 2014.
For more information about BoJamz, visit facebook.com/bojamzfest. For more information about Planting Peace, including how to sponsor a child and the group’s relief efforts in Haiti, visit plantingpeace.org.
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