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Columbus residents do some good

Joe Podelco / Lantern photographer

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The Do Good Bus, part of the Do Good Tour with Foster the People, rolled into Columbus Sunday with the indie-pop trio to pick up dozens of strangers and take them out to live up to the bus’ name.

The Do Good Bus is a tour bus following Foster the People on their tour for 30 days, stopping in each city and picking up volunteers to take them to a mystery location in that city to participate in community service projects.

In Columbus, the mystery service project involved a trip to Animal’s Garden, one of 90 gardens in Franklin County run by the volunteers at the Columbus-based not-for-profit group, Local Matters, which works to increase education and access to Ohio-grown foods.

It is unusual to have bands taking the time while they are on tour to figure out how they can give back, said Trish Dehnbostel, the director of healthful food access at Local Matters.

While at the garden, the volunteers pulled weeds, planted trees and vegetables, turned compost piles and created a garden for kids to play in.

With all of the extra helping hands, the volunteers did about three weeks worth of work for Local Matters in three hours, Dehnbostel said.

As the band is travelling from town to town, to stop and to think about what they can do for each community is amazing, she said.

Stephen Snedden and Rebecca Pontius, sister of Foster the People’s drummer Mark Pontius, founded the bus more than a year ago in Los Angeles after their friends kept asking how they could help to volunteer.

“We kind of just got fed up with people asking and said ‘Why don’t we just throw them on the bus and show them how to volunteer?’ And that’s what we did,” Pontius said.

Pontius believed that touring with the band would be a good way to help not only each community they visited, but the band as well.

“Ever since they actually became a band, they knew that they wanted to use music and use the way music can create a community and be able to give back,” Pontius said. “They knew going into this, if they were lucky enough to get famous, they want to take advantage of that and give back.”

And give back they shall. On this tour, there will be approximately 750 volunteers helping with 25 causes, according to a press release.

While many of the volunteers came from all over Ohio to join the Do Good Bus effort, some drove from West Virginia and North Carolina for a chance to meet the band and to help service a community. Others took a COTA bus from Ohio State’s campus to hop on board the Do Good Bus.

Katie Martina, a first-year in zoology, said she regularly volunteers and really enjoyed the experience of helping in the garden.

“It met my expectations, it was really fun,” Martina said.

Only halfway through their tour, Foster the People still has many cities to see and the Do Good Bus still has many organizations to help.

“I think I’m overwhelmed and lucky and just really excited to do more,” Pontius said. “We’re only halfway.”0

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