The slogan "music saves" may not be unfounded when it comes to needy families living in the Bellwood-Antis and Tyrone Area school districts.
Modeled after a similar project in Huntingdon, the monthly Hope & Hose Hoedowns have been taking place since July, and not only do they provide a night of great old-style country and acoustic music, but they aim to benefit families in the community in need of the power of both music and human compassion.
"What they're all about are finding people in the community who could use a helping hand," said Tim McMillen, a co-founder and organizer of the Hoedown events, which take place at the Tipton-Antis Firehall and are sponsored by the Hope Center in Bellwood.
"We want to help out people who, through no fault of their own, have a bad stroke of luck and life just happens to them."
This is certainly the case for this month's Hoedown beneficiaries. Lisa Buck not only lives with five kids in a house that currently has no heat, but much of her energy each day goes toward looking after her 8-year-old daughter, Virginia, who suffers from the symptoms of Juvenile Huntington's disease.
Though Virginia's symptoms may seem like mere behavioral problems to someone on the outside, they are the start of what will likely lead to more prominent affects - including seizures and severe mobility issues - and an untimely death.
If you go
What: September's Hope & Hose Hoedown
When: 5 p.m. today
Where: Tipton-Antis Fire Hall, 269 Tipton Rd, Tipton
Details: Admission is free, but donations for the Buck family are requested. Food will be served from 5 to 8 p.m., music from 6 to 9 p.m. Concessions benefit the fire hall, and the donations are administered by the Hope Center in Bellwood.
"The lights are on, but nobody's home," said Buck, 35, when describing her daughter's disposition.
Because taking care of Virginia is a full-time job, Lisa cannot work. The family struggles to make ends meet with the extenuating expenses of Virginia's illness - including trips as far away as Delaware to see a neurologist and obtaining a special type of walker that Virginia needs -?a walker that state insurance won't pay for.
Despite being very thankful for the support this month's Hope & Hose Hoedown will provide her family, Buck said she's most excited about the opportunity to spread awareness about this commonly misunderstood disease.
"Awareness would mean so much more to me than anything," she said. "But anything else would be a weight off our shoulders."
And as a father who couldn't imagine being in Buck's shoes, McMillen said he's happy the event will help the family out.
"If we can raise a few dollars and help them out a bit, it's a step in the right direction," he said.
Mirror Staff Writer Beth Ann Downey is at 946-7520.