A talent show in the middle of a pandemic? Doesn’t sound possible. But add in some virtual social distancing, a good cause and some local judges… and you get the Hungry for Talent show, produced by Relief Coalition.
Hungry for Talent
With Dana Michelle, from Dana Being Dana, as a judge, along with Eddie Gramma and Michael Vivirito from Two Brothers Roundhouse, the search was on for one talented winner.
“There’s a lot of talent, we’ve got some young talent, some adults, great singing, dancing, performances,” said Michelle. “It’s nice, I think performing is cathartic and therapeutic and I think that’s exactly what people need.”
At stake: a cash prize. But more important than the show itself was the fundraising effort of Relief Coalition, the brainchild of Brandon Lyon and Jessica Banta.
Beginning of Relief Coalition
“When this whole thing started she was like ‘we’ve got to help all of these workers and servers whose bills are being deferred but they don’t have money to pay for food’,” said Lyon. “So how do we provide food for those who become unemployed?”
So they set out to raise funds to bring groceries to those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. In the two months they’ve been running, Relief Coalition has raised over $5,000, helped 6,600 people and handed out 36,000 pounds of food.
“That’s what makes it worth it. People will come up to you and say thank you. They’ve fallen on hard times and they don’t have the resources to buy food. Or they have to decide is this money going to go towards gas or for food. So it’s really cool to see the community come together,” said Lyon.
Winner of the Talent Show
Pairing with the Marie Wilkinson Food Pantry and the Northern Illinois Food Bank, Lyon and Banta have delivered… just like the five finalists in the talent show.
“It’s a fun way to bring people together and I think there’s such a need for connectivity with what we’ve been going through with this pandemic,” said Michelle.
If you’d like to donate – you still can. Visit ReliefCoalition.org for more info.
Reporting for Naperville News 17, I’m Kevin Jackman