Kent lends a hand

Joey Simon

Area businesses helping out in Hurricane Katrina relief by donating, fundraising

Mandy Murgatroyd, worker of AmeriCorps-VISTA, takes clothes from Matt Cox, senior art major and president of BUS, who has been helping with donations. The parking lot behind Oscar Ritchie Hall will be taking more non-perishable food and supplies today fr

Credit: Jason Hall

Local stores and businesses are doing their part in lending a hand to aid the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

From donating stuffed animals to putting together concerts, organizations aren’t standing still in their efforts to help.

Some organizations in the Kent area are donating millions of dollars; other smaller entities are putting forth as much as possible. British Petroleum, a nation-wide corporation with a local gas station, is donating $10 million, according to its Web site.

Joel Jacobson, owner of the Electric Cafe Company at 252 N. Water St., is putting together a concert and an art show in which all proceeds will go directly toward Hurricane Katrina relief.

“I’m just a grassroot American trying to help other grassroot Americans,” Jacobson said.

Students for Hurricane Relief, a student organization, came to him and said if he would do his part and help attract people, they would take care of making sure the money was sent to the right place, Jacobson said.

“I was thinking of doing something,” said Jacobson of aiding the relief efforts.

“And then I was approached by two different people who wanted to do things here, so all I really had to do was open the doors and let it happen.”

The art show will begin at 6 p.m. on Sunday. Ten different artists will display their art inside the cafe, and a disc jockey is booked for music, Jacobson said. Donations of food and/or money will be accepted throughout. Some that will be exhibiting their work are artists Potluck and Closing Reception.

The concert will be on Tuesday and at least three different bands will be performing. Unicron, MC Homeless, and Parsley Flakes are all scheduled to play, profit free, starting at 10 p.m. Jacobson said he’s still looking for other bands. While Jacobson said he’s still unsure if he’s going to charge at the door, with all the profits going toward hurricane relief, he added any donations would be appreciated.

Sherry Dakes, owner of Einstein’s Attic on East Main Street, said she wanted to do whatever she could to help.

“The whole thing, it’s really terrible,” Dakes said about the hurricane. “We were just trying to figure out a way we could help.”

Dakes loaded together two boxes full of stuffed animals and hand-held games to send to victims of the hurricane.

“It really hits hard when you see on television all that those people lost,” Dakes said.

Stores up and down East Main Street have jars and cups asking for donations.

Jason Merlene, owner of Last Exit Books on East Main Street, has a jar accepting contributions on his desk and said he gave whatever books he could to help out.

Contact public affairs reporter Joey Simon at [email protected].