By Robin Ann Apicella
It is hard to imagine a more neighborly place to live than Batesville. The people of the town regularly show their care for one another, and when a community loves each other well, it naturally overflows to others who need it.
Shortly after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, John Pollock and a few of his friends were enjoying lunch at the Batesville market and ruminating on the tragedy of the situation. They wondered what they could do to help, when the idea hit them to hold a benefit concert to send financial relief to the people of Ukraine. The Batesville area has a large musical community, and it seemed natural to tap into that.
John and his son Jason took on the main organization of the project, and about three weeks later on April 10, a beautiful Saturday afternoon, the Batesville Concert for Ukraine was held in the field across from the Batesville Market. The goal was to raise $10,000 for humanitarian relief. But the event was “way more successful than we expected,” Pollock said, and in the end they raised more than $16,000. About 250 people attended, which surprised Pollock since the event was advertised only through a community text chain and word of mouth.
The afternoon featured ten local bands, including The Pollocks, Shannon Worrell, Willie Be, Blake Hunter Band, and The Silas Frayser Band. Pollock said that the local family band called Monsters Under the Bed really “knocked the crowd out.”
Donations flowed all day from the entry fee, t-shirt and yard sign sales, and the Batesville Market donated $1 of each beer sale to the cause. The sound equipment, stage, and sound management were all donated. “It was a real community deal,” said Pollock.
He is keeping the online donation option open, he said, because relief is still needed and they may organize another fundraiser in the future. All money raised online goes directly to GlobalGiving’s Ukraine Crisis Relief Fund, a charity that donates 96% of the funds directly to the people of Ukraine. During the event they also collected cash, check, and Venmo donations that went to two animal relief charities and one humanitarian charity called Bird of Light, which, according to their website, “address[es] the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine by delivering emergency aid to families that have fled or remain under attack.”
“[The day] was a perfect storm for those who want to donate,” Pollock said. “This was a way to sit outside, have a beer, and feel like they are doing something meaningful. What’s more neighborly and compassionate than reaching across the ocean to care for those in need?”
To donate, visit www.global giving.org/fundraisers/42280/ or https://goto.gg/f/42280.