CLARKESVILLE - Neighbors helping neighbors is the unspoken theme of Clarkesville Strong, a fundraising and promotional effort started after the March 5 downtown fire.
That blaze began at Sweet Breads Restaurant and spread to the back of the Clarkesville Square's east side, destroying several businesses and damaging several others.
"The community has generously come together to support employees displaced from their jobs after the Clarkesville fire March 5," said Hazel Cording of Clarkesville Strong. "While many have found jobs, some of the positions are part-time or temporary, leaving a financial void until permanent, and/or full-time employment can be secured. Donations collected are distributed through Helping Hands Ministries to displaced employees seeking help for anything from food, diapers and gas to utility bills and rent, until they can get back on their feet."
On Saturday, the campaign raised $247 at the dunk tank and face painting booths during the Shop the Block Party in Clarkesville. That amount also includes the stickers and car magnets sold during that event.
"We've raised $13,516, including donations from All Occasion Flowers ($3,034), Hanners Outfitters ($1,295), Silver and Gold Exchange ($500), Trader John's Grille ($267), First Presbyterian Church of Clarkesville ($2,043.19), Erin London ($1,000), Habersham Community Theater ($1,000), Serenity Cellars event ($2,900-plus), as well as numerous donations from residents," Cording said. "We also are receiving matching funds - dollar for dollar - for donations up to $15,000. So our $13,500-plus is now $27,000-plus!"
Upcoming events to support Clarkesville Strong efforts include:
* An Erin London fashion show on April 26;
* Raffle ticket sales for $5 each to win a $200 gift certificate; and a
* Concert on May 10 at Trader John's Grille.
Ongoing fundraisers include the sale of Clarkesville Strong window stickers for $5 and magnets for $10.
"It is a great visual to show support," Cording said of the Clarkesville Strong logo.
Donations to Clarkesville Strong are tax-deductible and need to be made out to Helping Hands Ministries, with the memo of Clarkesville Strong. All monies go to help the employees disrupted by the fire. Donations can be mailed or dropped off at WCHM Radio, 683 Grant St., Suite U, Clarkesville, GA 30523.
For more information on helping the Clarkesville Strong campaign, call (706) 839-1490.