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Online concert series with SWFL musicians raises money for food bank

There wasn’t a bad seat in the house this weekend during a benefit concert for a Southwest Florida nonprofit helping those experiencing food insecurity in our region. That’s because it was it was hosted online.

Local musician “Gator Nate” performed a virtual concert to raise money for the mission at Harry Chapin Food Bank of Southwest Florida Saturday.

All concert listeners had to do was buy a $10 ticket and log onto their computers for a front row seat to the online show. It was music for the ears and healing for the soul. That’s what “Gator Nate” hopes listeners got from his performance.

“I hope it puts a smile on their face, and it takes them away from all this for just a minute if nothing else,” he said.

“Gator Nate” says the coronavirus pandemic has been a hard time for performers like him.

“It’s a tough time for everybody in the hospitality industry, musicians and entertainers included,” he said. “We’re trying to do the best with it that we can.”

“Gator Nate” and organizers with PeaceVision Inc. know there are many people struggling right now during the pandemic. That’s why they held the first ever PeaceVision live concert series to spread positivity at a social distance during a time when many people need it most.

“The arts have always played a role when things go bad,” said John Biffar, the creative director of PeaceVision. “And, right now, artists are having a hard time finding jobs, so we got thinking, ‘Why not do a concert online, and why not turn into something for charity.’”

All the proceeds from the show are going to Harry Chapin Food Bank to help them continue to meet the food insecurity needs in Southwest Florida.

“We’re seeing demand in our community up about 40% from where it is in normal times,” said Richard LeBer, the president and CEO of the food bank. “So, obviously, that puts an extra burden on us, and we’re delighted to receive the generous support of so many people in our community, including this concert.”

And it’s a fitting fundraiser for the food bank.

“Harry Chapin, that we’re named after, was a musician,” LeBer said. “So music is close to our hearts, so we’re particularly overjoyed to see support coming in this way.”

Another virtual event for this new concert series benefiting Harry Chapin Food Bank is scheduled for next Saturday with local artist Caleb Neff. The proceeds from that concert will also go toward feeding those experiencing food insecurity in Southwest Florida.

And it’s something PeaceVision organizers hope makes a difference by bringing more food to Southwest Florida families and more smiles to people’s faces.

“I think watching good entertainment and knowing you’re giving to a good cause, what’s better?” Biffar said.

Reporter:Breana Ross
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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