Trio wants to bring Big Easy family to valley |

Trio wants to bring Big Easy family to valley

NWS Katrina Fund PU 9-2

VAIL ” Local activists are asking Vail Valley residents to donate money and a home to bring a family displaced by Hurricane Katrina to the area.

“If we can help by just relocating one family, they’d be a lot better off,” organizer Amanda Jensen said. “We’re looking for a home until they get on their feet.”

Jensen, an officer manager, and two friends began Friday morning by setting up an account at all area First Banks dubbed “Relocate Katrina Benefit” in which people can deposit donations.

The group also is working with a large aid organization to set up tax-dedutible donations.

Interested individuals can send an e-mail to Jensen said to Include a name, phone number, amount of time willing to donate home, and the home’s location.

A family has not yet been singled out, but the group is working to identify one. Any effort makes a difference, even helping just one family, said co-organizer Virginia Olson, a nurse’s assistant.

“If you look around the country, the mayor of Detroit is trying to help 500 families,” Olson said. “As a small community, we can make a difference.”

The idea came to Jensen while watching coverage of the hurricane’s aftermath on television. “I originally came up with the idea and I was so angry,” she said.

She joined with Olson and Kate Cocchiarella, a bookkeeper, to organize the program.

“Just seeing what happened down there, a lot of people need help and there’s a lot of people there that are poor,” Olson said. “I feel like this is a great community that can give.”

The four -day weekend provided the perfect opportunity for Jensen to set up and run the benefit. She was going to go to Water World near Denver, but she questioned having fun when New Orleans is under water.

“We might not be able to help everyone but if we can help one or two families that would be great,” Jensen said. “They could start a new life here; possibly break the cycle.

“I don’t know if yo

u’ve ever been to New Orleans but those people don’t have a lot of money,” she added. “Once you change your atmosphere you really change your mindset.”

The trio are also joining with other individuals and entities, including a donation drive at Berry Creek Middle School. Zephyr radio will be on hand to help raise funds.

Staff Writer J.K. Perry can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 450, or

Vail, Colorado

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