WANTAGH, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Concert venues and live theaters are still closed, leaving local musicians and performers, stagehands and others in the industry struggling.

Tuesday, there was some help for those folks, in the form of much-needed food.

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As CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported, before the pandemic the Liverpool Shuffle was booking 60 live gigs per year. COVID shut them down for all but a few virtual concerts.

“It has just been brutal, and Long Island is particularly hard hit. At one time it seemed Long Island was the center of the COVID universe,” said Joe Refano of the Liverpool Shuffle.

The first to close, the last to reopen, live music performers are still struggling.


At Mulcahy’s in Wantagh, the dinner theater is open, but many of their collaborators haven’t seen a paycheck in a year.

“Stagehands, lighting techs, roadies, everything. Merch sales, managers… and they are all out of work,” said co-owner Tim Murray.

For them, Long Island Cares has created an emergency response: Music Box of Meals. Several days of food, personal care products, even pet food.

LINK: Long Island Cares

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“We will ensure they have enough food for their family and they are welcome to utilize this program as often and long as they need it,” said Dr. Jessica Rosati of Long Island Cares.

Boxes can be picked up at venues where they’ve held so many benefit concerts to help others.

“To come and ask for help I think may be embarrassing for some. You don’t want to admit you need it,” said Michele Rizzo-Berg of the Patchogue Theater.

Virtual events have paid some bills but Long Island Cares predicts the need for long term help.


“This is the end of the line for many people in the entertainment business and the music business. For more than 12 months, no work and feeling hopeless,” said Long Island Cares CEO Paule Pachter.

A natural partnership, Long Island Cares was founded by the late, great Harry Chapin, who lived by the ideal of giving back.

“Music is in our roots and we want to make sure that local artists and entertainment folks have the help that they need,” Rosati said.

If you or someone you know in the industry needs assistance, you can call Long Island Cares at 631-582-FOOD. It will assess the need and direct you to one of the venues where boxes can be picked up.

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Long Island Cares has fed an additional 270,000 people during the pandemic so far.

Carolyn Gusoff