Shelter beneficiary of ‘Supernatural’ campaign

Renee Clark makes a follow-up phone call about a job from the Lawrence Community Shelter, 214 W. 10th St. Clark says she and her 4-month-old daughter, Tanisha, have been staying at the shelter and the Salvation Army, 946 N.H., for about a month. The shelter is one of two recipients of the first charity campaign of the Internet site Fandom Rocks because of Lawrence's ties to the CW television series Supernatural.

One of Lawrence’s homeless shelters will be getting a little extra funding from people who’ve likely never even been to Kansas.

Fans of the CW network series “Supernatural,” which features a fictional family from Lawrence, are trying to raise $1,000 by Sept. 1 and donate $500 to the Lawrence Community Shelter, 214 W. 10th St. The other half will benefit the international charity SOS Children’s Villages.

“It’s not so much that we’re in Lawrence. It’s that because of the show, by that extension, Lawrence has become important to all of us,” said Brande Ruiz, 32, of Grass Valley, Calif., one of three organizers.

It is the first campaign for the fan group Fandom Rocks, at Members have bonded through their fascination with the drama about two brothers who travel and investigate paranormal events to avenge their mother’s death. Fans of the show want to use their connections to help charities, as similar online groups have done.

Dana Stodgel, 30, from Illinois, Rebecca Mawhinney, 24, of Canada, and Ruiz researched Lawrence, and fans voted to benefit the shelter because of its mission, Ruiz said.

So far, 25 people from six countries have helped raise a total $400 through a PayPal account. They post screen shots of the account balance online to show it’s not a scam, Ruiz said.

Lawrence Community Shelter’s board members were notified “out of the blue” and thrilled with the gesture because a $500 donation would fund a month’s stay for someone, director Loring Henderson said.

“You’ll never know what tips things for someone,” he said.

The shelter serves 35 to 50 people during the day and 31 people at night. It operates on a $500,000 annual budget, although $165,000 comes from in-kind services and noncash donations. Revenue sources are donations, city funding and federal grants. It will become a United Way-funded agency in 2008.