Vol 5 No. 51 - September 7, 2005

Local efforts aid Katrina victims

Island residents MacKenzie and Mallory Kosfeld and Daniel Janisch had a bake sale over the weekend to help raise money for people devastated by Hurricane Katrina. A number of businesses and organizations around the Island are holding fundraisers and seeking contributions to help in the relief effort.

By Tom Vaught & Laurie Krosney
sun staff writers

The call to help victims of Hurricane Katrina along the northern coast of the Gulf of Mexico has prompted local responses in many ways.

Some have set up collection jars next to cash registers, one flew medical supplies into the area, some have opened their doors to refugees and one young Anna Maria Elementary School student opened her piggybank to the relief efforts.

The fact that the storm caused only a little erosion along our beaches as it gathered strength in the Gulf toward its northern landfall in Louisiana and Alabama might be one reason so many people here are responding. Many residents are fully aware that the storm could have turned east and hit this area.

Factor in last year’s parade of four hurricanes that missed us but devastated our Florida neighbors to the south and east and you have an Island full of people eager to help.

Here are some examples of local hurricane relief efforts.

Pat Runo, owner of Tip of the Island, 204 Palmetto Ave., Anna Maria, said his business will match donations given by patrons to the relief fund. There is a jar at the bar for people to drop their money.

Fat Cat Carpet Cleaning, 5400 Holmes Blvd., Holmes Beach, will donate 5 percent of their revenue between Sept. 14 and 30 to the relief fund.

Jessie's Island Store, 5424 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach, has a large jar at the counter for people to drop their money.

Beach Bistro owner Sean Murphy is serving "N' Awlins Nights" on Monday and Tuesday nights through the fall season, featuring daily specials of New Orleans-inspired dishes, with a portion of the proceeds going toward relief efforts for hurricane victims.

"New Orleans is the heart and soul of American cookery," said Murphy. "It is my favorite city, my first home in America and the city of my beginnings in the restaurant industry."

Twenty percent of sales from the "N Awlins Nights" specials will be set aside for the Red Cross initially and then for more local community-based charities.

"Since transportation and communication are in too desperate a situation to allow us to physically go and help, we will send what assistance we can from here," Murphy said.

The Bistro will also feature "N Awlins Nights" in the Bistro's soon-to-be-created piano bar later this month.

The Beach Bistro is at 6600 Gulf Drive, in Holmes Beach. For information or reservations, call 778-6444.

Most Island churches are adding special offerings for storm relief as well, and they are sending funds off to agencies that are in a position to help.

St. Bernard's Catholic Church is taking up a special collection on Sept. 11, and anyone can send a check to the hurricane relief fund of the Diocese of Venice. Gloria Dei is asking parishioners to donate to the Lutheran World Relief fund.

Church of the Annunciation is asking that donations be made to the Episcopal Relief and Development Fund. Island Baptist Church is accepting monetary contributions and anything else that might help for the Southern Baptist Association. Longboat Island Chapel is asking its members to donate directly to the Salvation Army.

Those who want to give money or supplies directly to a charity for relief efforts are urged designate their checks for "Hurricane Katrina" and send them to: The American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, D.C., 20013; or The Salvation Army, P.O. Box 269, Alexandria, VA 22313.

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