A Hoedown to Help Hurricane Victims

Residents on the island of Dominica dealing with the damage caused by Hurricane Maria. Courtesy of Charity Robinson

In looking for new ways to raise money for relief efforts in Texas and the Caribbean, Jolie Parcher, the owner of the Mandala Yoga and Healing Arts Center in Amagansett, wanted to do something fun.

"Melissa Berman of East End Cares asked if I would hold a special yoga class, and the proceeds would go towards Hurricane Harvey victims," she said. "I just thought that wasn't enough. When I think of a tragedy, I think of an entire community coming together to help."

A heel-kicking, foot-stomping hoedown was the answer, said Ms. Parcher. "My husband and I went to one at the Water Mill Center, and it was so much fun!" What is especially good, she said, is that everyone can participate -- beginners and families, the young and the old. "It's playful and a real celebration of the community."

And a hoedown there will be on Friday at Scoville Hall on Meeting House Lane in Amagansett, featuring Chart Guthrie as the live, and lively, caller, and music by the band Dance All Night. Attendees have been invited to pull on their cowboy gear and join in the fun. A $20 per adult and $5 per child donation has been suggested but is not mandatory. Chili and cornbread will be served.

All proceeds, Ms. Parcher said, will be split between Team Rubicon, which has joined with East End Cares to provide relief in Texas, and Give More Hugs, another nonprofit, which is dedicated to helping underprivileged students. It has a large presence on the island of Dominica, which was severely damaged by Hurricane Maria.

Assisting Ms. Parcher with the event is Charity Robinson, a yoga teacher who lived on Dominica, a tiny Caribbean island just a few miles from Martinique to the south and Guadeloupe to the north. Ms. Robinson worked in schools there, teaching dance to children, and as an adventure and excursion tour guide. Many of the close friendships she had formed during her time on the island and subsequent visits back were shattered in September when Hurricane Maria hit.

"Friends who were my go-to people on the island lost everything -- their house, their belongings. One family even lost their two little girls. The hurricane hit so close to my heart."

Ms. Robinson teamed up with Give More Hugs and started a drive for much-needed donations of clothes, food, feminine hygiene products, solar flashlights, and solar chargers. Last week, she loaded Ms. Parcher's truck, usually packed with surfboards, and the two drove to Queens. From there the supplies made their way to Dominica.

At the end of the month, Ms. Robinson will head back to the island for a trip she had initially intended as a yoga retreat, but now, she said, it will be one of relief work.

The hoedown for hurricane relief will be held from 5:30 to 7 p.m.

Charity Robinson, a yoga teacher in Amagansett, taught dance in schools when she lived in Dominica in the Caribbean.Courtesy of Charity Robinson