Coronavirus New Jersey: Musician raising money for charity gets derailed by Facebook

BELMAR, New Jersey (WABC) -- Since the coronavirus pandemic began, a local musician from Belmar has been taking his talents to social media to raise money for non-profits.

Each Wednesday night, Pat Roddy has performed live, streaming on Facebook and taking requests, in return for donations for charities across in New York and New Jersey.

Since the beginning of April, he and his band have raised more than $71,000 to supporting charities like Gilda's Club for women with cancer, Fullfill (formerly The FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties), and Interfaith Neighbors, which helps with food, clothing, and housing.

But the donations got derailed when Roddy and his manager Matt Stragazzi got locked out of their own Facebook page.

"It was very devastating because all of our advertising goes out on the Pat Roddy fan page," Stragazzi said. "So when we didn't have access to that, we didn't have a way to let anybody know what was going on. We weren't able to post anything on the page at all. So we couldn't get any communication out to any of our followers which was a pain in itself."

Stragazzi says he was unable to get anyone with Facebook on the phone or chat, and the charity the Pat Roddy Band was helping the first week of May took a hit.

"We lost $2,500 to $3,000," Stragazzi said.

Back in mid April, Eyewitness News reporter Michelle Charlesworth profiled the band's generosity. But when Facebook struck a wrong chord, they turned to 7 On Your Side for help.

"Without you guys getting involved, we'd still be spinning in circles," Stragazzi said.

We finally found a face at Facebook, who explained Roddy's page never had an administrator. So when its popularity soared recently, it automatically locked down.

It took a week of calls and emails to finally unfreeze the band's page.

"Thank you very much," Stragazzi said. "You guys have been a lifesaver, and on behalf of all the charities, they thank you as well."

And on Wednesday night, the band was back together online raising money for Visiting Nurse Services.

"We'd like to thank Nina and 7 On Your Side for getting us back online," Roddy said during his last set. "God bless 7 On Your Side."

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