By Meredith Lauzon and Capital Current staff
A benefit concert organized by the local music community along with CUPE Local 503 and others raised $50,000 Saturday night to help meet the on-going needs of those affected by the six tornadoes that hammered parts of the Ottawa-Gatineau region on Sept. 21.
The free concert featuring the Jim Cuddy Band and a long list of local musicians including Matt Mays, Sarah Harmer, Kellylee Evans, and many more local musicians played to a crowd of about 5,000 at TD Place Arena.
Buses transported people from the Arlington Woods and Trend-Arlington community to the concert and free transportation was provided on OC Transpo with a voucher printed or saved on a phone.
The concert was started by Erin Benjamin, the Ottawa-based head of Music Canada Live, who, on the Monday after the storm, reached out to friends and colleagues across the city to start planning a benefit.
“Music heals … we know that. And money helps to rebuild. I think we have a role, even a responsibility, to do something, quickly,” she wrote.
After the concert she posted on Facebook, “5000 people. $50,000. Tears, hugs, high-fives and handshakes = mission accomplished.”
For some residents of Dunrobin, basic needs were still not being met, leading the Ottawa Food Bank to make an additional donation of $50,000 in grocery gift cards available to those in need.
The money raised will respond to short- and long-term needs, including assistance with basics such as groceries, restocking food banks, supporting vulnerable seniors and providing counselling services.
Music community is incredibly supportive, great to see people caring for each other once in a blue moon, restores my hope in humanity!