All across Western Washington, groups and individuals are doing all they can to help the victims of the Oso mudslide.
“People are just in “go mode.” My friends have always been this way, Darrington has always been this way,” says Darrington native Shelli Gonshorowski. “Since the disaster happened, you have people who have been organizing food and deliveries. They’ve got Costco and Thriftway Foods coming with deliveries to help feed the Search and Rescue people and anyone that’s displaced. They have shelters set up on both ends, on the Arlingtion side and the Darrington side. You don’t hear of people staying in shelters on the Darrington side because everybody knows everybody. So shelter numbers are low because somebody’s taken them in. There are therapy dogs that have shown up for people.”
Shelli’s good friends Julie and Cory Kuntz went to Tacoma for the day to watch their son play baseball. And the mudslide happened 45 minutes after they got on the road.
“The property has been in his family for five generations. Julie actually said it best, she said, ‘It was as if our house was put it through a blender.’ The main house is just the roof sticking up and completely like a tornado went through there. Everything else is flattened. You wouldn’t even know all that was there before.”
Shelli set up a donation site for the family to help raise $7,000 for them to get their life back on track.
“Donations are going directly into a fund set up for Julie and Cory at the Coastal Community Bank. People can also go to the Coastal Community website and donate directly there as well. (account 2246). And unlike Kickstarter, no matter what the goal is, at the end of 90 days they’ll get that money. There’s no, you have to make the goal or you won’t get it. Right now, we have over $4,000 and I just posted this last night at midnight.”
Cory felt lucky to have been spared his life – so he and his friends have been a big part of the rescue effort.
“Cory and his friends immediately went out there and have been looking for, and finding, bodies, unfortunately. But they’ve been out there and defying the road blocks and fear of tickets and jail and they just go and do it anyway. That’s always been the way it is. Just go do it. Figure out the details later and just get it done. They’ve seen that they never thought they’d see and really can’t unsee at this point. They’re the kind of people that will just risk their own lives. They’re all from the logging community so they have the ability to go in and cut through these things.”
AMT in Arlington (20100 71st Ave NE) is taking donations of gas, chainsaw bar oil, two-stroke oil, work gloves, and gas cards.
There are plenty of other fundraisers going on to help all of the victims.
At Red Onion Burgers in Mountlake Terrace, owner Seaun Richards says Wednesday, they are doing a big donation drive to help the mudslide victims.
“Our employees have agreed to work for free for the cause. So we’re going to give away 50% of our sales from 11am to 9pm and then 100% of the tips are going to go to the cause.”
Half of the money will go to the Red Cross in Snohomish County and the other half will provide gas cards for local residents.
“One of our regular customers got the phone call while they were sitting at our restaurant, that her son and granddaughter are missing. But basically we do a lot in south Snohomish County and this is just our way of extending our hand to our fellow neighbors in Snohomish County.”
This weekend at the Tulalip Cabellas, a three day fundraiser has been planned and 100% of the proceeds will go to the Snohomish County Red Cross.
“We’re going to have the BBQ outside of the front of our store, Friday through Sunday, March 28, 29 and 30. It will be from 11am until 3pm. We’re going to have some live music, a DJ on Friday, a couple bands on Saturday and Sunday. It’s a suggested donation. We’ll have hot dogs, chips, soda and water,” says Katie from Cabellas.
“We worked with a lot of our community partners. Marysville Haggen’s, Hemplers, Walmart and Tim’s Cascade Snacks have helped donate some of the food for it. So it is a community partnership.”
At Moe’s Espresso in Arlington, owner Andrea Oosterwyk says they’re giving 100% of Tuesday’s proceeds to mudslide victims, via the Oso and Darrington Fire Departments. She says that way the money goes directly to the victims who need it most.
“It was really the busiest day I have ever seen there. We are tripling our sales, people are ordering their drinks and then giving you a $20 bill for the victims. Huge orders, the school district came down and got 30 drinks. People are really coming around in the community. My employees, I gave them the option, I said, ‘Ok, if you’d like to donate your time and volunteer for the day, let me know.’ They have all chosen to donate their time.”
“It wasn’t even regulars. It was new people. I just started to cry to see the hearts of my employees, willing to serve the community. Then Arlington coming around, supporting the community. It blew me away.”
At Lickety Clips in Mount Vernon, they’re collecting pet foods, treats and supplies and offering to groom Oso and Darrington pets for free. You can drop off anytime, Monday – Friday 7:30am- 4:30pm.
There’s also an Oso Relief Benefit Show at the Hawthorne in Snohomish Sunday, April 6 from 4:00pm – 10:00pm.
“We are honoring The American Red Cross’ wishes that donations not be tied to alcohol sales, so 100% of proceeds from FOOD, MUSIC, AUCTIONS, and RAFFLES will go directly to them. Mt. Pilchuck Brewing is donating $2 for every Mt. Pilchuck Ale sold to helicopterrescue.org organizers say.
You can also donate directly to the Red Cross. Call 1-800-RedCross or donate online.. You can also text the words RedCross to 90999 and $10 will be charged to your cell phone bill.