Car after car pulled up to the La Crosse Center. Drivers rolled down their windows and dropped their donations — sometimes as much as $20 — into plastic buckets labeled “American Red Cross Oklahoma tornado relief.”
“I’d say one in every five cars has stopped,” volunteer Steve Korger said. “People are generous.”
Korger and other volunteers from the Scenic Bluffs chapter of the American Red Cross collected donations from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday to benefit victims of the massive twister that on Monday leveled the Oklahoma City suburb of Moore.
Donations rolled in steadily throughout the day, said Red Cross Regional Development Director Carol Abrahamzon, who hoped the fundraiser would surpass one last year that raised about $13,000 for victims of Hurricane Sandy.
“Every time there is a disaster, this community steps up,” she said. “Everyone wanted to know how they could help.”
The American Red Cross relief effort focuses on survivors’ immediate needs — shelter, meals, medical equipment and prescriptions.
The fundraiser continues today — TGI Friday’s in Onalaska is teaming up with the American Red Cross for the relief effort. Customers can present the fundraiser flier (available on TGI Friday’s Onalaska Facebook), and the restaurant will donate 25 percent of their bill to the Red Cross. The flier can be printed out, or people can bring it up on their mobile phones, Abrahamzon said. Fliers are accepted from 11 a.m. until the restaurant closes.