Haiti Relief Jam II in the suburbs on June 2
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Relief jam concerts have proved to be powerful fundraising tools, most recently for Hurricanes Sandy and Katrina rebuilding efforts, among others.
Now, a local relief concert comes back with its second edition, in a continuing attempt to help children in Haiti, and give them access to education, medical supplies and housing.
Brian Reynolds of Arlington Heights is the mastermind behind the concerts. What started two years ago with a mission trip to help build school desks for a Haiti orphanage, has turned into an even deeper commitment.
Reynolds was among six suburban volunteers who responded to an offer from Jim and Patty Meyer, co-founders of the Naperville-based "Impact for Jesus," to help rebuild Haiti after the devastating earthquake in 2011.
The Meyers describe their hands-on approach as a "go and do" ministry, which provides people in need with basic necessities, such as food, water and shelter, as well as access to education and technical skill development.
"When the earthquake hit, we all had a great desire to respond," Reynolds says.
They worked at Grace House of Hope orphanage, located just 10 miles from Port-au-Prince, which sustained the earthquake's greatest damage.
"This was my first experience visiting this poor country," Reynolds says, "and the people we supported were so thankful that we felt a deep connection to them."
One year later, he gathered with several musician friends, and his sons, to host Haiti Relief Jam, with the hopes of raising more money for the orphanage and its students.
The fundraising concert drew hundreds of people and, with the help of a matching sponsor, they raised $75,000 their first time out.
Next week, Reynolds returns with Haiti Relief Jam II. The event is 1-6 p.m. Sunday, June 2, at the House of Music and Entertainment, 1227 N. Rand Road in Arlington Heights. A goodwill offering will be accepted at the door.
The lineup includes Reynolds and his sons returning with their band, the Reynolds Brothers, as well the cover band, Spread, and guitarist Chuck Tripp.
A featured act during the afternoon will be a set by the jazz guitarist, Fr. John Moulder, associate pastor of Ascension Parish in Oak Park.
Reynolds hopes the Relief Jam will raise both awareness and funding for their next series of mission trips to Haiti.
Now that the orphanage is stable they have broadened their mission, he says. They are partnering with more nonprofits, including Respire Haiti, a New Orleans-based relief organization whose mission is to aid vulnerable children.
"We've found amazing partners in Haiti to help keep our mission work active, and our dream to serve alive," Reynolds says.
He hopes this second Relief Jam will raise money for a variety of causes they've furthered through these new partners, including funding education, medical supplies, housing, soccer outreach and other self-sustaining solutions.
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