Point Pleasant Beach holds benefit concert for Ukraine
A Ukraine benefit concert was held Sunday night at Jenkinson's Boardwalk in Point Pleasant Beach.
Almost 2,000 people filled the pavilion at Jenkinson's for the sold out "Point Beach Cares: A Concert for Ukraine."
Residents filled the pavilion at Jenkinson's for the relief benefit concert, all while the situation of Ukraine was not far from their minds.
"This is awful what's going on over there, I pray for them every day," said Maryanne McCabe, of Wall Township. "I pray that this is over soon for them."
The idea for the benefit was about four weeks in the making when Point Pleasant Beach Mayor Paul Kanitra made his way to eastern Europe to do community service.
"I watched it all unfold on TV. It was equal parts anger and sadness, every single night, kept building up in front of me, and at 1 o'clock in the morning I texted my friend group and I said, 'I think I want to go over there. Is this crazy?'" Kanitra said.
When concert organizers saw Kanitra talking about his time in Eastern Europe, they reached out and set the wheels in motion to realize the concert.
"Paul was back from Poland two days later. We met him right here in Point Pleasant over an ice tea, and it all came together," said concert producer Tom Parr.
Marina Konozenko, of Ukraine, just got to the states two weeks ago and she's staying with family in Manalapan. Translatiing through her cousin, Irene Konozenko, she said she's thankful for the help, but called on the world community to stand with Ukraine.
"Any help is a huge help, literally. Any help is a huge help right now if you choose to help. There is no neutral stance in this war. There is no neutrality whatsoever. None," Marina Konozenko said.
"At least now, a month later with this still unfolding and the need still incredibly there, at least we know we're doing our part, we're making a difference," Kanitra said.
Bobby Bandiera headlined the event, and Southside Johnny made a guest appearance.
Several other performers, including some of Ukrainian decent, also performed.
World Central Kitchen, where Kanitra helped prepare food while he was at the Ukraine border, will receive a large portion of the concert's proceeds.
Organizers expected to raise at least $200,000.