Like so many of you, I am terribly saddened by last night's tragedy in West, TX. We all know West, "the place with the kolaches." I stop at Czech Stop (Exit 353) for raisin bread and zucchini bread every time I pass through West. Today, my thoughts are not on kolaches or baked goods but rather what little bit we can do to help those affected by last night's explosion. To that end, we're organizing a benefit, and we hope you can join us.
What: West Benefit
When: Sunday, April 28, 2013, 11AM-2PM
Where: la Barbecue (1502 S. 1st St., Austin, TX)
We'll have live music, drinks, and free chopped-beef sandwiches until they run out. (You are, of course, free to purchase any other food from la Barbecue, as they are open for regular business, as well.)
DONATIONS: We will accept monetary donations. We'll set up a table to receive donations. Details are still being worked out, but we will likely have a donation jar at the BBQ trailer, as well. UPDATE: We have received word that West does not need item donations, so we are shelving our plans to accept items.
I tweeted last night that I would organize & advertise a benefit for the victims in West if an Austin-area BBQ joint would host it. Within 5 minutes, la Barbecue reached out to me. To Ali and all at la Barbecue: THANK YOU! Once I tweeted that a benefit was in the works, dozens of you retweeted and emailed and messaged me with offers to help with the event. I was, and am still, so moved by your kindness and goodness. To all of you: THANK YOU! And kindness and goodness are exactly what West needs right now. Again, every little bit helps.
Speaking of "every little bit," let me be clear: EVERY SINGLE PENNY DONATED AT OUR BENEFIT WILL GO TO THE RELIEF EFFORTS IN WEST. People who defraud/trick/scam people during times of crisis and tragedy are sick, sick people. We hope you feel confident enough in us to help out. We have held several benefits like this in the past, and we have never taken a penny for ourselves. Any costs for the event will be borne by the people contributing. There will be no taking of a cut of the donations to cover expenses. I don't know specifically where we will donate the money, but as soon as I do, I will announce it, so as to be transparent.
Lastly, many of you have asked how you can help if you cannot attend the benefit. If you want your monetary donation to be included with the donations collected at the benefit, you can use the "Send Money" feature of PayPal and send your donation to firstname.lastname@example.org. Again, we will retain none of your donation. Whatever we get from people goes to West.