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Archive for Sunday, September 4, 2005

Lawrence residents donating time, money to relief effort

September 4, 2005

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Lawrence area residents are opening their wallets this Labor Day weekend and doing what they can to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Customers and others who stopped at Westside 66 and Carwash, 2815 W. Sixth St., were greeted Saturday by a 16-foot-long banner proclaiming "Lawrence Kansas Cares." Donations were being accepted for hurricane victims at a table in front of the banner.

"We've had a bunch of customers stopping in who wanted to do something," said Richard Haig, the gas station's owner. Donations will be taken at the station throughout the long weekend, and the money will be turned over to the Red Cross.

People making donations also were signing the banner, and by mid-Saturday afternoon about 40 names could be seen.

Some of the station's regular customers are headed for New Orleans with the Kansas National Guard, and one of the guardsmen will take the banner and hang it at an appropriate place, Haig said. The sign was made by Liz Johnson, an employee at Sign-A-Rama, 3727 W. Sixth St., he said.

Many employees at the Kmart Distribution Center, 2400 Kresge Road, gave up their holiday weekend to load tractor-trailers with supplies to be taken to the heavily damaged regions along the Gulf of Mexico. About 120 trucks will have stopped at the center by the end of Monday, a spokeswoman said.

At Kansas University, the music and dance department this week quickly organized a benefit concert.

"This is a way that we could use our expertise to contribute to the refugees and the victims," said Lawrence Mallett, director of the department.

That concert, featuring numerous faculty and students from the department, is set for 7:30 p.m. Sept. 13 at Swarthout Recital Hall, Murphy Hall. Donations will be sent to the Red Cross. Seating is limited. For information, e-mail benefitconcert@sunflower.com.

Veritas Christian School is adopting a family displaced by the hurricane. They will have fundraisers and send what they collect to the family, administrator Jeff Barclay said.

The family, Billy and Brenda Seibert, ran Street Level Ministries, a drop-in spot and coffeehouse in New Orleans. The students will do what they can to help the couple, Barclay said. It's a way to make a difference.

Children also were doing their part to help Katrina victims.

Jacob Leet, 12, and friend Benjamin Seybert, 13, decided to give an impromptu sidewalk concert Saturday afternoon in the 900 block of Massachusetts Street. Jacob played the trumpet and Benjamin the baritone as they entertained with a variety of patriotic songs and accepted donations from passersby. Jacob said he was spurred to action after watching television news coverage about the plight of the hurricane victims.

"I just felt like I needed to do something," he said later during a break in the concert.

After only a little more than two hours, the musical duo raised $340.

At a corner in the 3200 block of West 21st Street, five children collected money from motorists who stopped or anyone else who happened by during most of the day Saturday.

The children, Kara Herd, 3, Harold Herd, 6, Lucy Cole, 11, Zandria Theis, 9, and Alexis Theis, 10, had collected $80 by evening, said Jessica Cameron, the mother of the Herd children.

Late Saturday afternoon, Alexander Miller, 5, and his brother, Benjamin, 3, manned a Kool-Aid stand outside their home in the 1500 block of Stratford Road to raise money for victims. They were hoping to catch the attention of fans parking in the neighborhood and walking to nearby Kansas University's Memorial Stadium for the 6 p.m. KU football game against Florida Atlantic University. If the game didn't end too late they planned to sell Kool-Aid after the contest as well, said their mother, Traci Miller.

Staff writer Sophia Maines contributed to this report.

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