VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Musicians are among some of the hardest hit industries as many large gatherings have been put on hold.
For Chris Hall, better known as Chris Keys, music is his passion.
“Music is me. Music is my life,” said Keys.
Before the crisis, the Virginia Beach musician said he made most of his money booking several gigs a week at local bars. The shutdown, however, put a pause on Keys’ music and his income.
“To have that taken away for me has been a huge blow to me because now I’m like, 'What do I do?'" he said.
The full-time singer-songwriter began using his skills to pay the bills. Keys created a live stream to play his music for his followers and some newcomers. Many of his fans left him money in a virtual tip jar.
“People have been so generous,” said Keys.
The generosity from fans and strangers sparked an idea for him to give back. Keys and his group LittKeys streamed live from their living room to help raise more than $10,000 for various charities and causes.
“In a time of distress, to think of others more than yourself becomes so rewarding,” he said.
Over the weekend, the duo raised money to support local restaurants to feed staff from area hospitals. They connected with Christina Caro, who organized "Fueling Virginia Beach & Norfolk Nurses & Supporting Local Restaurants."
“We are supporting local restaurants by submitting paid orders to deliver food to local ERs and ICUs and people just donated tips and they were able to raise a little over $10,000 that night,” Caro said. “It’s really amazing to see how many people are wanting to help.”
The COVID-19 crisis inspired Keys to put himself before others in this time of need.
“What I’m doing right now is nothing compared to what the people on the front line and all of our medical professionals who are essentially risking their lives to do so,” said Keys.