Tahoe opens wallets, purses to help families of attack victims
Last week terrorists tore a hole in the heart of America. Since the attacks, South Lake Tahoe has become one of many communities working to mend that hole by doing whatever it can to help victims and their families.
Firefighters at South Shore began collecting money for New York City firefighters on Friday with a “Pass the Helmet” drive. Over the weekend they estimate they raised tens of thousands of dollars for the families of the dead firefighters.
“We we’re stirred. It’s absolutely incredible outpouring of certainly money and well-wishers beyond what we’ve ever seen,” said South Lake Tahoe Fire Division Chief Merle Bowman. “I’m so moved. I’m proud this community is coming together. It’s just heartwarming.”
Later on Friday, people at South Shore held a sporadic but city-wide candlelight vigil. At Stateline, casinos showed support posting marquee signs, such as: “God Bless America, One Nation Under God, and God Bless the USA.”
Out of respect, Caesars Tahoe turned off many exterior lights Friday night. Its parent company, Park Place Properties, announced plans to donate $1 million to aid family members of rescuers who died on the job.
Small business owners are also forking over cash for the American Red Cross. Since Tuesday, Jana Walker, owner of Sealed With a Kiss, a lingerie shop at the “Y,” and Lakefront Wedding Chapel, has recruited the help of her managers and they have been working nonstop to jumpstart Tahoe Businesses Who Care.
As of Sunday, a group of 19 businesses who have agreed to donate $300 or 50 percent of its proceeds for a day. Walker has gone the extra mile with her donations, agreeing to donate 50 percent of the proceeds from her businesses for nine days, which ends Thursday.
Coming up on Tuesday, Ernie’s Coffee Shop will donate 100 percent of profits to the Red Cross. Taqueria Jalisco plans to do the same thing Wednesday.
“Because we can’t be there to help out, we want to help send as much support as we can,” said Chris Andersen, co-owner of the taqueria. “If it were my family, hopefully they would do the same for me.”
The goal of TBWC is to raise $20,000 by Wednesday.
“We stated doing this six hours after this disaster – that quickly,” Walker said. “We are trying to create a model for other communities to follow, putting Tahoe on the map in going big in creative fund-raising efforts.”
TBWC is also planning a fund-raiser inside Horizon Casino Resort on Sept. 25 dubbed the American Fare. It expects to be celebration of the nation with American food, a silent auction, raffle, flea market and entertainment.
“This is Tahoe fund-raising vigil,” Walker said. “We’ll have music, marching bands, face painting, entertainment. Everything and anything that gets you excited to be an American.”
James Dalton, owner of South Lake Tahoe Antique and Thrift Company at 2318 U.S. Highway 50, has figured his own way to help out. On Sunday, he started a flower memorial in front of his business. At the end of each day, with the help of Girl and Boy Scouts, he wants to deliver the flowers to hospital and nursing home patients.
Dalton said Tuesday’s events jarred him to action.
“I’ve never seen anything that horrible in my life, all of the sights of Sept. 11,” he said. “It was appalling. I feel my life is changed forever and will never be the same again.”
To donate money, send checks to:
South Lake Tahoe Disaster Unit of the American Red Cross at PO Box 11137 Tahoe Paradise, Calif. 96155.
To donate blood in Reno call (775)-329-6451; in Carson City (775)-887-9111.
To contribute money, food, prizes or items that can be auctioned, contact Tahoe Businesses Who Care at (530) 541-7925 or fax pledges to (530) 543-6986.
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