NEW PORT RICHEY — One out of every five children in this country struggles from hunger. The Share Our Strength foundation used the gift of music to help reduce that statistic.
The Share Our Strength foundation teamed up with Arby's to put on the first benefit concert, “Music for Meals,” for their No Kid Hungry drive. The recent event was meant to raise money and awareness to help reduce and prevent child hunger in America.
The No Kid Hungry campaign has given 34 million meals to youngsters since the summer of 2011. Six weeks out of the year, Arby's joins No Kid Hungry to help raise money for the cause.
In the past, New Port Richey organizers have done other fundraisers, including bowling nights and car washes. But this was the first benefit concert that they put on and have hopes of doing it again next year.
Everyone that was involved with putting on the event was very focused on the cause.
Ann-Marie Andriano, from the vendor Ally's Accessories, had a stall at the benefit for the sole reason of helping the children in need, instead of just helping her business. “The most important thing to me is doing a benefit for the children,” she said.
Ed Burga, the Arby's area supervisor for New Port Richey, said, “It's just about giving back to feed the children.”
The performers were also adamant about donations and raising awareness for the cause. Southern Marie, a country band that played, spoke about the importance of donations because the children were less fortunate than most of the people in the audience.
Seven local performers took to the Sims Park amphitheater stage, as well as one surprise act. The lineup consisted of Beggars and Poets, Malaya, The Wise Guys, Stevie Johns, Southern Marie, Trinity Faith Andrews, Morgan Bernard, and special guest MC Intimidator. There was a wide range of musical genres, from classic rock to rap, and what Malaya calls “alternative pop-rock with a hint of metal.”
Trinity Faith Andrews drew many raves from the audience. At only 12 years old, Trinity surprised listeners with her talent.
Mary Ann Brankard, a spectator at the concert, said the young singer “should be on the 'X-Factor.' Like right now.” Southern Marie even invited her up during their set to sing a couple of songs with them, including “Blown Away” and “Two Black Cadillacs” by Carrie Underwood.
Along with the live music, there were also several vendors, moon bounces, a Lego group, and even a dunk tank. There was a stall for donations as well as prizes that were raffled off throughout the day.
More information on No Hungry Kid is available at http://www.nokidhungry.org/solution/ending-childhood-hunger?.