MONTCLAIR, NJ - On Saturday night nearly scores of people gathered for an evening of music with Parents Who Rock at Montclair Center Stage.
The band paid tribute to the late Tom Petty and used the opportunity to raise funds benefiting Unidos Hispanic Federation for Puerto Rico Hurricane Relief and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.
The brainchild of Alma Schnider, founder of Parents Who Rock, the evening was put together in response to concerns raised by families and friends in Montclair.
Isreal Cronk, Executive Director of Montclair BID, said, "Montclair Center BID supports community efforts, especially if there is a passion. Our assistance is in helping making the event better and in getting the message out. We assist with permits, police, organization, sponsors and most importantly, create partnership between business, private and community sectors."
Assisting Schnider for the evening were husband and wife team Montclair Detective Garth Guthrie and his wife Madeline, who were collecting signatures for the group Moms Demand Action. They were asking people to assist in putting forth legislation for more stringent gun laws and education.
Madeline, who has family in Puerto Rico, shared that 80% of her family is affected by no clean running water, electricity. She also said that the hot climate and total destruction of the infrastructure in Puerto Rico were her concerns.
She said, "We understood the need and knew we had to do something. When you have a brother calling you for help, it hits home."
With her down to earth hosting style, Alma welcomed the many attendees that gathered to support and donate.
A total of 19 acts took to the stage performing cover songs and original works.
"Being from England, we don't have issues such as seen here in the US in regard to guns and one would think that after Sandy Hook more stringent legislation would have been passed," said one performer.
Closing out the evening, El Grupo de Puerto Rico Relief performed with John Acevedo on lead vocals singing classic salsa, merengue and standards that got the crowd dancing.
Donations were collected for the charity causes during the performances.
Supplies such as batteries, baby food, bug spray, mosquito nets, sun screen, duct tape, tarps, zip lock bags, first aid items, and dried food, dried milk, protein powder, was collected to be sent to Puerto Rico.
Perila Modriguez, who attended the function, shared her family story, "My brother and his girlfriend are finally here and while it is a happy day for us, listening to their stories of what life in PR has been like the last 3 weeks, left me speechless."
She continued, "The topography is depressing look at, people are living in darkness and suffocating heat, trying to sleep while drenched in sweat. Dedicating their days to searching for water, food, and gasoline, much like the Walking Dead but without the zombies."
Modriguez added, "The stench in some towns is so great because of damage and overflow of sewage facilities. It's been confirmed that at least two people have died from drinking water from the river and that it is impossible that the death toll is as low as is being reported."
"To everyone who has donated, collected and sent materials, thank you. Many lives are still at risk and full recovery will take years," she concluded.
Participating business, Java Love donated a percentage of their proceeds from Saturday evening.
Checks can be written out to Parents who Rock. To make monetary donations, go to www.parentswhorock.com