“Someone said to me, ‘Who are the victims in Rhode Island?’ and I said, ‘There are a ton of victims in Rhode Island,’” Melanie Flamand said of the damage Sandy caused the Ocean State.
She said Misquamicut Beach in Westerly and Roy Carpenter’s Beach in South Kingstown look like “war zones.”
“Someone should go down to Westerly and say, ‘As a reminder to everybody, it’s bad here,’” she said. “Peoples’ businesses are gone, their homes are gone, so if we can pull together for one night, we can send something to the Rhode Island Red Cross.”
Paul Shipman, spokesperson for the American Red Cross, said they have been helping local victims by providing them with sheltering, food and cleanup supplies. They are also alerting people of meal pickup sites in Westerly and Charlestown.
Additionally, they have been meeting with families in need to point them toward other helpful resources, some of which are long-term services.
In an effort to further help Rhode Islanders, Flamand, a co-owner of the Carousel Grille, is planning “Rhody to the Rescue,” a benefit concert to be held at her establishment at 859 Oakland Beach Avenue Nov. 14 from 4 to 9 p.m. The entry fee is $20 per person and all funds will go to the Rhode Island Red Cross.
“If, by chance, 200 people come by, that’s $4,000,” Flamand said. “The restaurant will be closed specifically for this. We have a beautiful stage and I talked to some musicians and instead of them lugging in all their instruments and setting up, we’ll have base instruments. It’s predominantly going to be a jam session, so if you want to come up and play, come. If I can get a couple of headliners, it would be nice.”
Flamand, who will be the event’s master of ceremonies, is looking for musicians and bands to volunteer their time and perform 20-minute sets apiece.
She is also searching for food donations from local businesses. Each business, she said, would be recognized via a sign perched by the food they contribute.
“If anyone wants to donate, that would be great,” she said. Snacks made by the Carousel Grille will be served. A cash bar will also be on hand.
Further, she is in need of raffle prizes for the event.
So, what made her decide to put together a musical showcase?
“Music just brings everybody together,” Flamand said. “People just respond and they can relate to it. Live music brings such energy to a place. We have live music [at the Carousel Grille] anyway, so it’s not going to be something that’s abnormal to people in the neighborhood. And we’ve got plenty of parking.”
Flamand, who owns and operates Flamand and Associates, an insurance company located at 55 Jefferson Boulevard, co-owns Carousel Grille with Candy Costaldi and Terry Leal. Leal also owns Tebeca Jewelers at 1175 Post Road. The restaurant won Providence Phoenix “Best of Restaurants” for the 2010 Editor’s Pick.
During the storm, Flamand said Carousel Grille fortunately only lost power for one day. But 2011’s Irene left them without power for four days. Still, it didn’t keep them down.
“Within a day, we had three generators working to open up so everyone could have a place and come to eat,” she said.
Not only will guests of next week’s event be treated to food and live music, they also might see Flamand perform. She plays guitar, bass and drums.
“I’ll probably sit in on a song or two,” she said. “It’ll be fun.”
If anyone is interested in donating funds to the effort, checks can be made payable to the Carousel Grille. Flamand will pay them to the order of the Rhode Island Red Cross.
“Every penny we make will go to this donation,” she said. “We’re not keeping anything.”
Contact Flamand at 401-639-5097 to donate food or raffle items.