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Local artists benefit Somerville Homeless Coalition

Posted by  January 6, 2014 10:00 AM

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Pictured: Chandler Travis, Photo credit: Richard Chase

The following was submitted by the Somerville Homeless Coalition:

Holiday cheer and goodwill were especially abundant this December, as Johnny D’s and The Burren put on concerts and the artisans of the NAVE Gallery held their annual Wrap Around Sale, all to benefit the Somerville Homeless Coalition (SHC).  The Radio Bar, Blue Ribbon Barbecue, PA’s Lounge, and the Tap and Trotter also dedicated proceeds of recent events to benefit the Somerville Homeless Coalition.

Johnny D’s hosted Chandler Travis’s Christmas Cavalcade along with the Boston Typewriter Orchestra, Jeff Potter, the Philharmonic Trombone Shout Band, and many other musicians for their 10th Annual Cavalcade.  Each year Chandler Travis brings an array of musicians to Johnny D’s for the Cavalcade, a wacky take on traditional holiday music, and donates all proceeds to the Somerville Homeless Coalition. “Chandler and the folks at Johnny D’s keep raising the bar on putting on a great show,” declared Mark Alston-Follansbee, executive director of SHC. He added, “We are grateful to Chandler and Carla and the staff of Johnny D’s for all of their hard work, and to all of the musicians who made the night such a success. We are amazed that the show raised more than $6,000 on our behalf and know it will make a huge impact on our work.”

The Burren’s owners, Tommy McCarthy and Louise Costello, performed together in an Album Release party for their first joint recording. Both are known throughout the world for their beautiful Celtic music which showcases a perfect blend of the regional styles of West Clare and North Galway. 

Tommy and Louise, aware of the high cost to shelter homeless families, wanted to prevent more people from becoming homeless. They contacted the Homeless Coalition and graciously donated this Album Release party's proceeds.  Brian O’Donovan of “A Celtic Sojourn” fame was host for the event. Tommy and Louise played to a sold out audience, who were eager to hear selections from their new album, Grace Bay. The night’s proceeds totaled $3,000, almost the equivalent of the average cost for SHC to prevent three families from becoming homeless.

Photo credit: Vanessa Marcous

Tori Costa, Susan Berstler and Margaret Ryan of the NAVE Gallery organized their annual Wrap Around Sale from mid-November to mid-December. 

Representing hundreds of hours of knitting and crocheting by dozens of volunteers, the sale of numerous scarves, mittens, hats and other hand-crafted good raised over $2,000, which they have donated to the Somerville Homeless Coalition.  “We do what we can, and know that if we all do something, it will make a big difference,” explained Tori Costa, to which Mark Alston-Follansbee added a heartfelt “Amen and Thank you!”

Aimee McGrath of Radio Bar in Union Square also wanted to “give back” to the community and offered to dedicate an evening of music and food to the Homeless Coalition.  Ron Stoloff of Blue Ribbon Barbecue quickly accepted her offer to partner on this event and donated finger lickin’ good food for the evening.  After a fire temporarily closed Radio Bar, the owner of PA’s Lounge graciously made his venue available for the scheduled event.  Just before Christmas, the Tap and Trotter also hosted a party to benefit SHC.  “Not only do these events raise much needed funds, they raise awareness about homelessness in our community and give everyone an opportunity to do something to help, for which we and our clients are most grateful,” commented Alston-Follansbee.

Since 1985 the Somerville Homeless Coalition has been “working to put ourselves out of business,” by providing Homeless Prevention Programs, Case Management and Supportive Services for those seeking assistance to find or maintain their housing, Adult and Family Shelters, and a food pantry, Project SOUP.  Last year SHC served over 2,000 people, a number expected to grow as government support for affordable housing and meals programs continue to decrease.  “We couldn't do this work without the generous support of local businesses and individuals, and all these events attest to what a caring community we have here,” affirmed Alston-Follansbee.  “Together, we serve as a safety net for our neighbors in need.”

For more information about SHC or to get involved, visit or call 617-623-6111.


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