Lake Wylie rocks with benefit concert for children’s charity
Party with a purpose, concert for a cause, rock by the dock — by any name, Lake Wylie’s biggest fall bash is back Sunday.
Organizers hope it’s bigger than ever.
“This is our 16th year. The way the lake is growing right now, we really are trying to reach more people,” said Lake Wylie Children’s Charity Executive Director Jennifer Joye.
The charity has multiple events each year, including a golf tournament, a poker run and a boat poker run. But the biggest event remains the annual fall concert to raise money for families with children facing a life-threatening illness.
Bands will perform Sunday noon to 6 p.m. at the restaurant’s lawn by the docks. Ashland Craft, Maddie Rean, Remedy Hollow, the Smilin’ Dogs and DECARLO will perform.
There also will be a silent auction, children’s area and bake sale.
Although admission is free, any money donated or collected through fundraisers is given to families identified through the charity’s contacts, hospital social workers or submissions.
“We always try to outdo the previous year,” Joye said of fundraising. “So my goal would be to try to reach six figures. If we could hit $100,000 that would be amazing.”
The organization has raised many times that amount since T-Bones employees, customers and friends came together in 2003 to support of the late Dakota Gay and family. Gay died from a brain tumor in 2009 at age 15.
“It started out to help a local family,” said volunteer Lynn Smith, who has been helping since the beginning. “It just grew and people wanted to get involved and help the next family and help the next family.”
In 2009, the event expanded to help two families. In recent years, the charity has helped families with issues as needs arise, rather than singling out one or picking a few for the whole year. Money is used to help pay medical bills, and provide transportation or other basic needs.
“The biggest difference is we’re year-round,” said Haven Presley of T-Bones and founding charity member. “We don’t just pick one family and help them, or two families.”
Presley said the group may get 10 calls a month about children with needs.
“All that is driven by the community,” she said. “They help us find people we can help, and we help children.”
When concert time nears, there’s is a line of performers willing to donate their time for the cause.
“They call us and want to play,” Joye said. “Our biggest thing is we try to change it up every year so we don’t have the same bands. But it’s awesome that they call us.”
This year’s silent auction offers something new, too.
“Our biggest thing this year is we’re doing online bidding,” Joye said. “People can actually go online now and see what we’re going to have ahead of Sunday.”
Organizers say the concert, a charity itself, are easy sells as new people learn about them.
“The special thing about it is, it’s an event that’s for the benefit of a child with a very critical illness, and to help their family,” Smith said. “That’s what pulls everybody together.”
Plus, she said, people want to help a group looking to “help as many families as we can.”
“A lot of people are hesitant to give to another charity,” Smith said. “All these volunteers over the years that have put on these different benefits, have never been compensated. Any expense that they might have has been their contribution.”
As more people come into Lake Wylie and learn about the organization, leaders see possibilities.
“Fortunately, they all have the same generous spirit,” Presley said.
For more, visit lkwchildrenscharity.org .