The Restore the Shore benefit concert for Hurricane Sandy victims was a success at Lakewood Ranch Polo Grill and Bar on Wednesday.
Organizers expect the final tally for the concert to reach $7,000, and donations are still rolling in. Proceeds will be donated to the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund, which was started by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and his wife, Mary Pat.
"It really hasn't stopped," said Sudie Brattli, the creator of the concert and Jersey Shore native. "People said they will keep donating."
The storm, also called Superstorm Sandy, left more than 100 people dead, thousands homeless and caused billions of dollars in economic losses. Brattli's three brothers lost their homes during the storm. Through Facebook, she learned of friends who had suffered similar damages. The neighborhood she grew up in was decimated.
In response to the devastation, Brattli, a lifelong singer, came up with the idea to organize a benefit concert to help victims of Hurricane Sandy. Musical acts included Brattli, who sings with the Suncoast Ladies Sing the Blues group, the Florida Blues Brothers, Ben Hammond, Big T and the Tornadoes, CCL, Kara Nally, Come Back Alice and The Lotus Fire.
The event also included a silent auction. Brattli said the biggest ticket item sold was a $2,500 package of botox and injections at Lakewood Ranch Plastic Surgery and Skin Care.
Roughly 300 attended the concert and Brattli said there is growing interest for more benefit concerts in the near future.
"Our goal was $15,000, so we'll like to meet $15,000 before we stop," she said.
Those interested can still donate through the benefit concert's website
East Word features news and views about East Manatee from members of the Lakewood Ranch Herald and Bradenton Herald.
Jason Bartolone: Jason returned for his second tour of duty at the Herald in August 2013 as East Manatee Editor, following a three-year stint with local news startup Patch. He previously served as a copy editor/page designer and Page 1A editor with the paper from 2005-10. He has more than 10 years of journalism experience and holds a degree in journalism from Penn State University. A New Jersey native, Jason moved to Florida in 2005 and now resides in Lakewood Ranch with his wife and infant son. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @jasonbartolone.