Concert benefits displaced mobile home park residents

When Pat Elliott wanted to support a cause while attending Penn State in the ’80s, he’d gather his friends in the backyard of his house and have a small benefit concert to raise money.

Some things never change.

Elliott, who still lives in the State College area, held a benefit concert Sunday at the Park Forest Village United Methodist Church to help the soon-to-be displaced residents of the Penn State Mobile Home Park and those from the Hilltop Mobile Home Park. All of the more than $2,000 in proceeds raised at the concert, dubbed “He Ain’t Heavy,” will go straight to the Interfaith Human Services Fund for Displaced Residents of Centre County.

Members of the church had been brainstorming ways to raise money for the residents, and Elliott said it really hit him how scary it would be if didn’t have a home to go to.

“On Aug. 1, people are going to wake up, and if they don’t get some help, they won’t have that option that night,” he said.

Elliott collected funds through donations, local business contributions, a bake sale and a silent auction. The auction of donated items raised about $1,600 and more than $800 was collected in individual donations.

He was very pleased with the local support and the community response to the idea.

Elliot’s band ESP was joined by “Sgt. Bob” Timney and Screwdriver Sally — composed of Cori and Patrick Donaghy — for the more than two hours of music.

When Elliott reached out to Timney to help, he jumped at the chance.

“Pat said, ‘Would you like to help?’ and I said, ‘Yes,’ then asked what it was,” Timney said.

Timney called it an honor to be asked to help with the project. He said playing for crowds like that is always better because everyone is listening closely to the music and giving honest feedback.

For Patrick Donaghy, the cause was an important one because he only lives a few blocks away from the Penn State Mobile Home Park and he’s literally helping out his neighbors.

He said many of the people who are being displaced have jobs and are working hard to stay on their feet.

“They’re not looking for handouts,” he said. “They’re trying to do it themselves.”

After the concert, Elliott and the group went up the street to Otto’s to play more music and relax after the long day. The restaurant agreed to donate 10 percent of Sunday’s non-alcohol revenue to the cause.

The total amount of funds raised was not immediately available, but Elliott expected to surpass his goal of $1,000.

The concert is over, but the cause will go on. Anyone interested in donating should contact IHS.