When you think about Seattle, what first comes to mind? Coffee, rain, the Space Needle? When you think about homelessness, what cities first come to mind? Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, San Francisco?
But the rock band Pearl Jam posted this on their website: "The region's homelessness population is now the third largest in the country, with over 12,000 people living without shelter on any one night. This is not a number to be proud of."
Seattle and homelessness go hand in hand. Who would have thought that?
Pearl Jam came back to where it all began for them, Seattle, for two sold out concerts. The goal of what is called "The Home Shows", is to raise money to fight the homeless problem in Seattle. The band put it's own money on the line by matching the amount donated, up to almost ONE MILLION DOLLARS!
They were joined by the Seattle business community. More than 140 organizations, including Bill Gates and Starbucks. Many restaurants are donating food to shelters. Pearl Jam pop-up merch tents are up throughout the city.
The band's guitarist, Stone Gossard said, “Seattle is our hometown. When there are challenges here, we want to be part of the solution. It's heartening so many organizations and individuals coming together to do the same. It's going to take all of us."
These are the first concerts that Pearl Jam has done in Seattle in five years. After Wednesday's show, more than $11 million has been raised. The second show is tonight so expect that number to reach between $15-20 million.
“It took a bit of focused effort, and so much was done in a very short time,” Eddie Vedder said. “We can solve this issue together. This city can prove to the rest of the nation that if it can happen here, it can happen anywhere.”
At the Wednesday show, the setlist included Pearl Jam originals as well as cover songs from Jack White and Neil Young. But one other cover tune described the night and the effort to combat homelessness perfectly...The Beatles "Help."
Pearl Jam and the Seattle community is doing their best to help!
Help me if you can, I'm feeling down
And I do appreciate you being 'round
Help me get my feet back on the ground
Won't you please, please help me?
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