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'Neighbors helping neighbors'

DeKALB – A day of rainy weather couldn’t keep the DeKalb County Pride Benefit Concert from happening Wednesday at the Hopkins Park band shell, nor did it keep the visitors away. As bands readied their instruments and waited for their chance to perform, one local group said all the organizer had to do was ask them to perform.

DeKalb native and Northern Illinois University student Noah Brooks said he loves to give back to his community.

“Anything to give back to DeKalb,” he said. “I’ve lived here my whole life.”

He said the trio, which also includes DeKalb natives Devonte Merrick and Nolan Bunger, performs modern jazz and jazz standards.

The DeKalb County Pride Benefit concert was the idea of Michael Embrey, and benefited DeKalb County Community Gardens.

He said that the morning after the July 27 fire at the St. Alban’s Green apartments in Sycamore, he saw the community garden’s Grow Mobile mobile food pantry on site to help displaced residents at 6:30 a.m.

“I was very impressed,” he said. “People cared enough to get up at 6:30 in the morning.”

Coupled with the fires at 808 Ridge Drive and 930 Greenbriar Road in early July, Embrey said he felt the need for the two cities to come together.

“It’s not a DeKalb event, it’s not a Sycamore event,” he said. “This is a community event.”

DeKalb Mayor Jerry Smith and Sycamore Mayor Curt Lang both were in attendance at the event.

Local musical acts Reilly Farrell, The Noah Brooks Coalition, The Elderly Brothers Band, Johnny & the Boomers and Luxury Pork Band performed, with fireworks planned for after.

“The goal is to make this a family thing,” Embrey said.

Dan Kenney, founder of DeKalb County Community Gardens, said he was grateful for the donations. This summer’s fires have been the first major event the organization has had with the Grow Mobile, and it set up pop-up pantries for displaced residents of the apartment buildings to get food that they need.

“We tried to be as responsive as we could,” he said.

Donations from the event will go to offset some of the cost of the additional pop-up days, Kenney said, as well as help residents get established in their new location. Displaced people can stock their pantries with staples such as salt and pepper and flour.

“It’s neighbors helping neighbors,” Kenney said.

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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