The Woodlands Hotel Ugly Group is hosting an event to tackle food insecurity at the Conroe Pantry

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Brothers Chris and Mike Fiscella formed their band, Hotel Ugly, in 2020 as much of the country shut down due to COVID. Now the group is experiencing success and wants to give back by helping a food pantry in Montgomery County.

The group will host an event from noon to 4 p.m. Thursday at Abundant Harvest Kitchen at Saint Isidore’s Episcopal Church, 24803 Oakhurst Drive in the spring to encourage donations. The community is encouraged to bring shelf-stable food to donate, or simply come and say hello to the group. They can even play some of their songs. The food pantry normally purchases its food from the Montgomery County Food Bank to distribute to families in need, but the Fiscella brothers will purchase the food on Thursday.

The Fiscellas were born in Florida but moved to The Woodlands when they were young. When Chris started his classes at Lone Star College, he joined an on-campus organization called the Food Recovery Network.

“From there, I got the experience of doing food drives,” Chris said. “Being part of this organization has given me an abundance of knowledge not only about food insecurity and students, but also about the extent of food insecurity in the United States and that is really something that opened my eyes to be grateful – I am, and my brother – that we grew up in a family where food insecurity never really affected us.

“He inspired me,” Mike said of his brother. “Lately we’ve been working with Abundant Harvest and we have some good friends there.”

They were introduced to St. Isidore’s Episcopal Church and Abundant Harvest Kitchen, which runs the church’s food pantry, through their manager, Trey Diller.

Since the pandemic hit in March 2020, the church pantry has helped feed hundreds of Montgomery County families. The pantry was originally going to be a small operation for church members, but because the church moved into its current building and opened the pantry as soon as the pandemic started to affect the local economy, it was always a bigger operation than expected .

When he met them, Rev. Sean Steele of St. Isidore, said Mike and Chris were just looking for a place to volunteer. He had no idea that they lived off their music.

“I think it shows that they recognize that they want to live according to their values,” Steele said. “I hope they continue to do that, whatever success they get. I think they are. But I think it’s a very good sign that even in these early stages of success, they are interested in giving back to the community.

Since the group’s debut in 2020, Hotel Ugly has gained over 20 million streams on Spotify and now has 2.8 million monthly listeners. The band’s YouTube page has gained over a million subscribers since April 2021 and they’ve just announced their next tourfrom October 12.

This is the group’s first fundraiser for the pantry, but it may not be the last.

“Ever since we had the opportunity to have this social position, giving back has always been something that I feel like something that, in some way, we are obligated to do,” said said Chris. “If we don’t give back in some way, I think our duty as artists, musicians, influencers – whatever you want to call it, is kind of a failure.”

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