ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – A local nonprofit organization is taking its music festival online to support the summer feeding program at Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida.
The Swamp Sistas is grassroots movement made up of more than 2,700 female artists with a passion for music and giving back to the community.
Beth McKee is a singer, songwriter, and founder of the Swamp Sistas. She said their efforts are needed now more than ever during the coronavirus pandemic.
"It's more important than ever for us to come together and help Second Harvest get more meals out into the community for kids," McKee said.
Every year the organization hosts the Swamp Sista La La, a New Orleans inspired festival which brings female musicians and artists together to perform and raise money for Second Harvest.
Due to most social gatherings cancelled this year because of COVID-19, McKee said they had to figure out another way to do their part.
This year's event is called "Swamp Sistats La La Hope from Home." The performers are live streaming their acts on the Swamp Sistas' Facebook page on Saturday, May 16 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The livestream is free and they're encouraging viewers to donate online at www.lalasummerhope.com. McKee said she is hoping to raise $10,000 for the food bank's summer feeding program.
“No school means no school breakfast and no school lunch for lots of kids,” she said. “Obviously, this year that need is more important and the gap is bigger than ever.”
Greg Higgerson is the chief development officer with Second Harvest. He said they can turn each dollar donated into $9 worth of food. He adds the money will directly benefit families in need.
"Lots of families are going to be struggling out there, especially if they don't have the income side coming in like they're normally able to get," Higgerson said. "That's the case for so many thousands of people right now."
McKee said she hopes the community will come together over the arts to help keep students fed.
"If each of us can chip in a little something we can make a big difference together," McKee said.
McKee said an anonymous donor is also matching the donations, up to $5,000.
The Swamp Sistas are also teaming up with the Winter Park restaurant, The New Standard, to host a brunch event during the virtual music festival. The restaurant is serving a special brunch and dinner menu for delivery and pick up.