Hollywood Casino to host free Dine 419 Kickoff PartyWritten by Tom Konecny | | firstname.lastname@example.org
The Dine 419 Restaurant Kickoff Party at Hollywood Casino Toledo on Feb. 19 will benefit Dine 419, a new weeklong restaurant fundraising event.
Among the Northwest Ohio artists scheduled to appear in consecutive hour-long sets starting at 7 p.m. are Candice Coleman, the Gray Devils, the Grape Smugglers and the Homewreckers. The concert is free.
“It’s so wonderful for the entire community to come together like this to support our homeless veterans,” said Ken Leslie, event organizer and founder of Veterans Matter. “The restaurants in Toledo have always had compassion for those in need.”
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Dine 419’s proceeds go directly to Veterans Matter, a national charity founded and still based in Toledo. Leslie started the charity in 2012, with the goal of helping house homeless veterans.
Several area restaurants are participating during the seven-day event, giving patrons a chance to show their support for the cause.
The Kickoff Party’s first performer will be Coleman, who burst into the national spotlight on the second season of “American Idol” in 2003, and remains a popular and in-demand artist.
Pat Lewandowski and Tom Kornacki make up the Gray Devils; the men have both played roots and blues music for 30 years, including the last three together.
The Grape Smugglers is a seven-piece band that covers hits from acts like Chicago, the Doobie Brothers and Stevie Wonder, and brings a general Motown sound.
“I’m going to put together an hour set that should be really kicking,” said Dave Stella, guitarist and vocalist. “I love doing benefits, because you’ve got to give back.”
The Homewreckers will close the evening’s event, and bring a bluesy sound that’s been heard in and around Toledo since the group’s first gig at Rally by the River in 1988.
A concert is a fitting way to start Dine 419’s inaugural event, as it was Veterans Matter that received initial support from musician John Mellencamp in 2007.
Word of mouth then spread to others in the entertainment industry, and before long, Leslie had connections with and financial support from many celebrities, including Susan Sarandon, Katy Perry, Kid Rock, Ice-T, Stevie Nicks and Willie Nelson, among others.
Veterans Matter connects local communities, foundations, corporations and veterans groups with Housing and Urban Development and the Veterans Administration to move homeless vets off the streets and into permanent, supported housing.
Once housed, services are lined up to help veterans and their families recapture their lives and return to domestic autonomy. Veterans Matter has been able to house more than 500 veterans to date.
Those in attendance at the Kickoff Party will be able to make donations to Veterans Matter.
For more information, visit www.dine419.org.