Denise Leckerman, of Bensalem, isn’t about to let a global pandemic get in the way of her mission to help those battling drug and alcohol addiction.
Since 2013, the Leigh Leckerman Foundation – formed in memory of her stepdaughter, whose life was cut abruptly short because of alcohol – has hosted an annual benefit concert. Proceeds help provide financial support and admissions assistance to emergency detox and rehab facilities, inpatient/outpatient treatment plans and post-recovery housing.
Usually held at indoor venues, including Brookside Manor in Feasterville-Trevose, the concert draws hundreds and has raised, to date, over $385,000 for the foundation.
This year, with COVID-19 restrictions for events still in place, foundation president Leckerman is organizing a drive-in show.
Set for Saturday, Nov. 7, from 7 to 10 p.m., in the Neshaminy Mall parking lot (by the former Sears), the evening features music by David Uosikkinen’s In the Pocket, which encompasses 23 musicians from local bands The Hooters, Tommy Conwell, The A’s, The Soul Survivors, Smash Palace, Beru Revue, The American Dream and more.
“It’s the same band we used as before, but this year, it’s the entire band,” Leckerman explained.
The concert will be streamed live over FM radio, allowing guests to relax and enjoy the performance from the comfort of their car. Tailgating is permitted, and food and refreshments will be available. The lot opens at 5:30 p.m.
“We’re promoting it as a community event to bring people out and about,” said Leckerman, who thanked the Bucks County Department of Health, Bucks County Commissioners and Bensalem Township for their support. “Everybody’s on board to help us do this, and it’s just amazing how it’s all coming together. With a matter of a couple phone calls, everything just kind of fell into place.”
Last year’s show raised almost $50,000, and Leckerman anticipates an even better result for 2020, despite the circumstances.
Since its inception, the foundation has helped hundreds of patients gain emergency admittance to treatment centers, with about 85 percent completing rehabilitation successfully.
“We service Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware. We just put a girl into treatment in Mississippi, we have California,” said Leckerman. “We’ve definitely broadened our base with the services that are provided through the foundation.”
Ultimately, the purpose of the foundation is to prevent more deaths due to drugs and alcohol from occurring.
Leigh, age 21, was in her final year at Penn State University when she crashed against a curb following an evening of partying. In her impaired state of mind, she deemed the car inoperable, and decided to walk the rest of the way home.
While walking along the darkened street that led to her house, another impaired driver came barreling toward Leigh, killing her instantly.
The foundation aims to help others who, through recovery, might escape tragedy, both for themselves and their families.
For tickets and information on the benefit concert, call 215-377-1034 or 267-549-7989, or visit the-leigh-leckerman-foundation.ticketleap.com/concert-at-the-neshaminy-mall. For more information on the Leigh Leckerman Foundation, visit leighshelp.org.