Myke Read’s car was jam-packed with coats, blankets, sweaters and other warm clothing Friday night. They were all donations used as entry tickets to the Reno Has Heart benefit concert for Reno’s homeless and at-risk youth organized by Reno DIRT (Direct Impact Response Team).
Donated items from the concert will be given directly to those who have little-to-no means of supporting themselves and are especially vulnerable in the cold winter months. In addition, the more than $200 raised from the event will also support the purchase of additional cold weather gear including thermals, sweatpants, socks, and jackets. Local nonprofit Eddy House will receive any items not directly delivered to homeless and at-risk youth.
Read, a Reno local, was the organizing force behind the concert and is a co-founder of Reno DIRT, an informal, action-oriented community group addressing homelessness.
“[Reno DIRT has] been trying to find creative ways to do drives and different sort of things where we can gather up supplies or just try to get community action going,” he said. “I’ve done shows, and they’ve been successful, so I thought, why not try setting up a benefit concert?”
We’re not trying to write grants. We just would like to help and do stuff that’s direct and immediate as much as possible.”
Read, along with other members of Reno DIRT, asked attendees to donate $5, non-perishable food items, jackets or blankets as the cost of admission to listen to local bands Ummm… Jr, Full Clip, Ozymandias, Sex Devils, and ASYLUM, all playing at Jub Jub’s Thirst Parlor on Wells Avenue. The bands performed at the event free of charge.
Throughout the evening, people crowded the neon-lit bar, swaying their heads in time to the music. Adam Graft, a friend of one of the performers, said, “It’s great…[This event] brings people together to donate to a good cause and support local music.”
“On a personal level [I hoped for] a decent turnout and exposure. On a less personal level [I hoped] a lot of people brought clothes and food because it’s fucking cold outside and we all need [to stay warm and healthy],” said Taylor King, a member of the noise funk band Ummm… Jr.
Read emphasized the benefit concert was an entirely grassroots venture.
“[Reno DIRT is] not a non-profit. We’re not trying to write grants. We just would like to help and do stuff that’s direct and immediate as much as possible,” he said. “This town has a giant heart. It’s been since September since we’ve been involved doing stuff like this, and it’s been an absolutely amazing experience to see how many people actually come out and actually will donate their time or money.”
Anyone looking to learn more about Reno DIRT or volunteer with the group can reach out to them on their Facebook page.
Tabitha Mueller is a freelance writer and multimedia journalist based out of Reno, Nevada. She is fascinated by storytelling, place, and the intersection of narrative and data analysis and holds a bachelor’s degree in Geography and English and American Literatures from Middlebury College. When she is not tracking down a story or listening to podcasts, you can find her hiking Nevada’s gorgeous terrain, perusing local bookstores, playing Quidditch, and discovering Reno’s hidden stories.