A few weeks ago, Zach Richards met a 15-year-old girl in the midst of the fourth toy drive she'd organized in her young life.
Richards, a York City native who moved to Atlanta several years ago, said it gave him an idea.
"I just felt like good energy while I was there," Richards, 28, said. "There's no reason I can't turn around and try to do something like this for my community, where I'm from."
On Sunday, Richards and a group of other York-based hip-hop artists will perform at The Shop at New Grounds Roasting Company, 284 W. Market St. Admission to the 6 p.m. show is $5, but that fee will be waived for anyone who brings a toy.
Richards, whose stage name is Phene, said the event is also an opportunity to showcase local musical talent.
"Sometimes, I know artists in the area, they feel like they don't have a lot of outlets to get on stage and share their talents," Richards said. "The main objective was just to find a way to bring people together and give back."
Positive message: A 2004 graduate of William Penn Senior High School, Richards said he moved to Atlanta to plug himself into the music industry there. But he maintains close ties with York.
He has a day job but also considers himself a "do-it-yourself artist" and student of the music industry. Richards established a company called High Off Life, through which he promotes his music and sells merchandise espousing his message of positivity.
"I'm going to wake up today and I'm going to feel good about my life," Richards said, explaining the High Off Life brand.
As for his music, Richards said, "Some would call it conscious hip hop."
"I just see it as talking about life," he said.
Richards said he is collecting names of families that could benefit from Sunday's toy drive. To suggest a family, email Richards at email@example.com.
"We really want to donate directly to people," he said.
-- Reach Erin James at firstname.lastname@example.org.