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All-Star Virtual Concert Benefits Food-Rescue Group

Leah Lizarondo calls the Yinz Citizen concert “the Pittsburgh mix-tape”: The benefit event for her group 412 Food Rescue brings together local musical talent from across generations.

Yinz Citizen benefit concert for 412 Food Rescue: 8-10 p.m. Thu., Nov. 12

And the aid is sorely needed, as the group ramps up its efforts to feed the hungry during the coronavirus pandemic.

The virtual concert Thursday, Nov. 12, features two dozen appearances, ranging from a greeting by Pittsburgh-born rap star Wiz Khalifa to performances by punk-rock stalwarts Anti-Flag, local legend Donnie Iris, and up-and-coming singer-songwriter Inez.

Other acts include Joe Grushecky and the Houserockers; hip-hop artist Brittany Chantele; rapper Mars Jackson; Scott Blasey of The Clarks; Andre Costello and the Cool Minors; musicians of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra; Liz Berlin, formerly of Rusted Root; Cello Fury; Squonk Opera; and the Boilermaker Jazz Band.

The concert will be hosted by advice columnist Natalie Bencivenga and comedian Day Bracey. Special guests include former Pittsburgh Pirate (and longtime 412 Food Rescue supporter) Andrew McCutchen and the Steelers’ T.J. Watt.

Each artist will perform one song, some live, some prerecorded. A complete line-up is here.

“Locally here, there’s families that are starving, that are hurting,” said Clinton Clegg, lead singer of the Commonheart, who will perform solo. “To see an organization strive to change that is a great thing... I think the work they do is incredibly valuable.”

The event was inspired by One World: Together at Home, an April 2020 concert curated by Lady Gaga for the group Global Citizen to benefit frontline health workers. Lizarondo called Yinz Citizen a Pittsburgh first.

“We’ve never had a concert where all of these artists are performing in one place, and it’s just a joy to anticipate that,” she said.

Funds will benefit her nonprofit group, which collects fresh food headed for the landfill and uses a small army of volunteer drivers to deliver it to the needy.

Since its founding, in March 2015, 412 Food Rescue has kept more than 14 million pounds of food from being discarded. Most of it has come from supermarkets and food distributors, she said, with 5% donated by restaurants. The group works with 800 retailers, and distributes through some 600 nonprofit partners. About 100,000 people living in poverty in the Greater Pittsburgh area have received food from the group, according to a press release.

The group uses an app called Food Rescue Hero to match donors to volunteer drivers and beneficiaries. Lizarondo said the pool of drivers now numbers 10,000.

Need for the group’s services has only grown during the pandemic. “We are actually quadrupling our volume since summer, so we are going to distribute as much food this year as the last four years combined,” she said.

According to one new estimate, food insecurity in Southwestern Pennsylvania has increased by 40 percent this year.

Viewers can register for Yinz Citizen here.

[Editor's note: The original of this article has been amended to reflect the fact that Wiz Khalifa's appearance is not a musical performance.]

Bill is a long-time Pittsburgh-based journalist specializing in the arts and the environment. Previous to working at WESA, he spent 21 years at the weekly Pittsburgh City Paper, the last 14 as Arts & Entertainment editor. He is a graduate of Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism and in 30-plus years as a journalist has freelanced for publications including In Pittsburgh, The Nation, E: The Environmental Magazine, American Theatre, and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Bill has earned numerous Golden Quill awards from the Press Club of Western Pennsylvania. He lives in the neighborhood of Manchester, and he once milked a goat. Email: