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Bartaco Raises Money in Partnership with Love Light + Melody

(Left to right) Reinaldo "Rey" DeJesus, Brad Corrigan, Mike Nunziante and Anthony Valletta. Photo Credit: Kaily Martinez

To raise awareness about Bartaco partnering with Love Light + Melody, Brad Corrigan, lead singer of Dispatch and founder of Love Light + Melody, made an appearance at bartaco on Monday, July 1.

By Kaily Martinez

The crispy shrimp taco is back for a limited time at bartaco in West Hartford, and it’s for a good cause.

In partnership with Love Light + Melody, bartaco in West Hartford is giving back by donating $1 from every crispy shrimp taco sold from June 12 through July 23 to the organization. Brad Corrigan, founder of Love Light + Melody and lead singer of the band Dispatch, stopped at bartaco on Monday, July 1, for a brief but lively and inspirational performance. 

For each crispy shrimp taco sold, bartaco will donate $1 to Love Light + Melody from June 12 until July 23. Photo Credit: Kaily Martinez

Before the performance began, bartaco was packed both inside and outside with excited guests who were ready for the music to begin. Once the music started, some guests were seen enjoying the music from their seats or were on their feet dancing and clapping to the beat. After a few songs, bartaco President Anthony Valletta stopped to talk about the fundraiser and how Valletta spoke with his lifelong friend Corrigan to perform at bartaco for the hour. “We just found out today, about halfway through, we raised $70,000 so far,” Valletta announced.

Valletta then invited Corrigan to talk about what started Love Light + Melody. Around 2006, Corrigan said he took a trip to La Chureca, Nicaragua, where he was taken to a trash dump and witnessed children running barefoot. During that trip, Corrigan said, “Something just froze in me that day.”

On the left side of the entrance, a table with information regarding the fundraiser was set up. Guests could select a bracelet made of recycled plastic bags, matches, temporary tattoos and a free taco redemption coin. Photo credit: Kaily Martinez

Sitting in the car, he locked the doors and rolled the windows up but then took photos. Corrigan said he was glad he had a camera because he had photos to remember that moment instead of wiping it from his memory. Once he got home, he reflected on the pictures he took and thought about the children and their families and how they were no different than himself or his own family. 

“Then I had this haunting thought: my last name is Corrigan, and I was like, what if I looked out the window and instead of rolling the windows up and locking the doors, what if every single child, parent and stranger I saw was a Corrigan?’ If I looked at them as family, what would I do? What would I not do? And that changed everything for me because they started to treat me like family, they were the ones who were generous, they were the ones who were not afraid, they were the ones who invited me out of the car,” Corrigan said. 

The weather was perfect for Brad Corrigan, Mike Nunziante and Reinaldo “Rey” DeJesus to play. Photo Credit: Kaily Martinez

After meeting one of the children there named Ileana, Corrigan saw how, despite her circumstances, Ileana continued to see the positivity in life. Unfortunately, in 2011, Ileana passed away. But since then, Love Light + Melody founded Ileana’s School of Hope to provide students with the “opportunity and guidance to further their education and improve their lives and the lives of their families,” according to their impact statement. They have also established a high school and university scholarship program. 

The hour-long performance led by Corrigan helped deliver the message about Love Light + Melody’s partnership with bartaco and their fundraiser. While the crispy shrimp taco is a limited-time offer, those who want to continue making a difference can donate through Love Light + Melody’s website.

Reinaldo “Rey” DeJesus during the performance at Bartaco. Photo Credit: Kaily Martinez

During the set, Bartaco President Anthony Valletta and Brad Corrigan wished Anna Greenberg, Bartaco’s director of marketing, a happy birthday. Photo Credit: Kaily Martinez

Brad Corrigan during the performance at Bartaco. Photo Credit: Kaily Martinez

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Kaily Martinez

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