Horry County concert to benefit people struggling during COVID

 Horry County concert to benefit people struggling during COVID

More than a year into the coronavirus pandemic, people are itching to get back to normal while some are still dealing with the continuing financial pinch. That’s why North Myrtle Beach resident Veronica Tario is throwing a concert.

Groove for Grub, the event planned for April 24, will include performances from five bands from bands in the region and half the proceeds will benefit the Lowcountry Food Bank.

“I’ve been so blessed through this whole pandemic, ever since all this craziness started I’ve been so incredibly blessed,” Tario said. “I know a lot of people are struggling right now. I wanted to do something.”

Food insecurity hasn’t slowed in SC

Horry County was hit hard by the pandemic, often first or second in the state for unemployment claims during the spring of last year. The need for food in the Grand Strand hasn’t gone away even a year out from the most severe of business closures and job losses spurred by the pandemic. At the concert, donation bins will also be available for people to bring non-perishable items, said Tario, who is paralyzed and runs a support group for people with spinal cord injuries called Myrtle Beach Breeze Group.

Projections from the group Feeding America predict 42 million people in the U.S. will experience food insecurity in 2021, only a slight improvement from 45 million in 2020. Before the pandemic, food insecurity had reached its lowest level in decades, but progress was significantly derailed by the economic downturn. The Lowcountry Food Bank is still serving around 50,000 more people than before the pandemic across its 10 S.C. counties, according to chief development officer Brenda Shaw.

“The need really is not decreasing,” Shaw said, adding that the pandemic was especially “devastating” in Horry County, where many jobs are based in tourism and hospitality.

Organizers expect ‘happy, smiling, dancing people’ at benefit concert

Tario said she’s never run an event like this before, but she knows concerts can be lucrative and she wants to raise as much money as possible to send to the food bank. After a year of social distancing and avoiding events, people are ready to get out again, and a concert made sense for the atmosphere she wanted the event to have.

“The atmosphere, I would be hoping, would be happy, smiling, dancing people mixed with social distance,” Tario said.

Vendors and artists at the event will be local. The artists will come with blank canvasses and do “live painting” while the bands play, creating whatever the music inspires, Tario said.

“Especially with how big of an impact that this pandemic has had on small businesses, I mean it’s huge,” she said. “A lot of people struggle that way. I’m hoping to generate those locally run small businesses.”

Details of the event and coronavirus in Horry County

Bands Treehouse, Goofy Footers and Bubba Love, all from Myrtle Beach, will join Charlotte-based bands Sun-Dried Vibes and Swim in the Wild to perform at the Brick House Lounge in Surfside Beach starting at 6 p.m. April 24.

Even with declining cases and more people vaccinated, the pandemic isn’t over, and certain COVID-19 precautions will still be in place, Tario said, including required masks and a roped-off dance floor. Tickets are sold by the table to encourage people to stay to their own area.

Horry County has recorded 28,270 cases since the beginning of the pandemic, including 155 in the last week, according to the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control. The coronavirus has been linked to 436 deaths in the county. Amid the push to get more people vaccinated against COVID-19, more than 173,000 doses have been administered in Horry County.

Tickets for Groove for Grub are available at etix.com or at the Brick House Lounge. Two-person tables are $40 and four-person tables are $80.

Mary Norkol covers housing and homelessness for The Sun News through Report for America, an initiative which bolsters local news coverage. She joined The Sun News in June 2020 after graduating from Loyola University Chicago. She was editor-in-chief of the Loyola Phoenix, leading the paper to first place in its general excellence category from the Illinois College Press Association. Norkol won awards in podcasting, multimedia reporting, in-depth reporting and feature reporting from the ICPA. While in college, she reported breaking news for the Daily Herald and interned at the Chicago Sun-Times and CBS Chicago.

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