GODFREY – Musician Jay Lipe has done some pretty big things in his life – from playing bass for massive acts like P. Funk and Black Flag to off-road skateboarding to riding motorcycles across the country, but every year for the last 11, he has done something he finds to be “bigger than himself.”

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Started when Lipe wanted to help his daughter bring Christmas cheer to the Alton Catholic Children's Home, Something Bigger Than Yourself is an effort done by Lipe to bring instruments and athletic equipment to children's homes across the country. This year will mark the 14th children's home in four states, as he is in the process of building a music program in a home in Southern Missouri he discovered en route to Johnson's Shut-Ins, in a place called Faith Foundation Children's Home in Fredericktown, Missouri. He has also worked in Alton as well as in Denver, Colorado and Louisville, Kentucky. Donations of sports equipment and musical instruments were collected and donated to these homes to give kids the opportunity to play music or get physically active.

To celebrate this year's success, Lipe is hosting a party, which is free and open to everyone, on Saturday, Dec. 8, at Roper's Regal Beagle in Godfrey. Music will begin at 2 p.m. with lauded singer/songwriter Matt Taul as well as Krickett and the Grilled Avocados, Lipe's own band, Peanut Butter Jam, and several other acts from across the St. Louis area.

The show is free, Lipe said, because people have already gotten together and donated to Something Bigger Than Yourself. He said he would work with people who wanted to donate at the show, however, and help them get the money or item where it needs to be going.

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“For the past 11 years, I have had no clue how I would pay for all the stuff that we all have given to the kids living in orphanages during each holiday season,” Lipe said in a Facebook post. “I sometimes did worry, because I am only human, but ultimately, I dug my boots in and I did trust God to help me get this done, and every year, I have seen miracles happen and hearts touched.”

“I really do appreciate all my Facebook friends that have reached out to help with the concerts, dinners and gifts over the last 11 years.”

Along with helping children's homes, Lipe has also ensured people in assisted living facilities get flowers and chocolate for Christmas. He also said he helps kids across the country battling a terminal illness, including a young child named Johnny who perished in recent years from cancer. Lipe gave he and his brother skateboards.

“I don't know if he ever got to ride it,” Lipe said. “But I think just having it there with him helped him a lot. I hope it brightened his spirits. I know his brother did get to ride his. We have built music rooms in 13 children's homes throughout four states and have given numerous guitars, skateboards and sports equipment to terminally ill children. We provided flowers and chocolates for the elderly living in seven retirement homes. For all of this, I am so grateful.”

Lipe said he promised he would continue Something Bigger Than Yourself's mission for a decade. Now that he's one year past that promise, he said he is going to continue the mission as long as he can, adding “man, you can't get depressed if you're helping kids be happy.”

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