Lemons, Booze, Biking, and More to Aid the Gulf Coast

July 1, 2010

NEW ORLEANS, July 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Donations to the Gulf Coast Oil Spill Fund from people everywhere will make a big impact in helping our communities recover in the months and years to come. Just as inspiring as the generosity of donors, is the imagination they have used in creating fun, unique fundraisers to benefit the Gulf Coast region. The Fund is administered by the Greater New Orleans Foundation.

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20100701/DC29961 )

(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20100701/DC29961 )

Melissa Plaskoff of North Dallas wanted to help Haiti after the recent earthquake, but she wasn’t sure how. A few days later, her four-year-old son asked if he and his brother could host a lemonade stand, and an idea was born. She told them yes, if they donated all the proceeds to Haiti. Her son loved the idea, and they raised $150 in less than two hours.

“It was so simple, I had to share this with others,” Plaskoff said.

Spreading the word via social media such as Facebook and Twitter and talking to other mothers, Plaskoff launched Lemons to Aid. More than 50 Lemons to Aid events held around the country since then are plotted on the map on their website, providing a powerful visual aid to show children how they can help those in need.

Plaskoff has now partnered with the Greater New Orleans Foundation and issued a challenge to get kids involved in raising money for the Gulf Coast Oil Spill Fund. Lemons to Aid is gaining momentum fast — events are now being held weekly coast-to-coast.

“If we start now, we teach our kids to give,” said Plaskoff. “It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. It’s quick and simple, and the outcome is huge.”

Other one-of-a-kind fundraisers are springing up around the country and the world.

Debbie Cox grew up in England but has lived in Louisiana for more than 20 years. For her upcoming 50th birthday, she is asking friends and family to donate to the Gulf Coast Oil Spill Fund in lieu of gifts.

“I had hoped to run a full or half marathon to raise funds,” she said, but added that she had to change plans due to an ankle injury. “My birthday affords another (and less physical!) way of contributing to this lovely community that has been my home since 1987.”

Daun Lynch and Lisa Montgomery, teachers and stepsisters from Ontario, are raising funds through their upcoming bicycle tour from San Francisco to Vancouver this summer. They are calling the tour “Get out the Grease.”

Kristofer Koerber of Maine is organizing a marathon to garner support from that state’s fishing communities to give to the fishing communities in Louisiana.

Upscale swimwear will benefit the Gulf at the “Planet Beach” event in West Hollywood, featuring two swimwear runway shows with a “beaches around the world” theme, with proceeds donated to the Fund.

Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre in New Orleans is donating a portion of the proceeds from each ticket sold to its upcoming “Celebrity Autobiography” show (which features local star John Goodman) to the fund.

Not surprisingly, many have thought of food when thinking of ways to help the Gulf Coast.

Jimmy Galle, owner of the Sausalito-based Gulfish seafood distributor, grew up crabbing and fishing off Dauphin Island and Biloxi as a child. He is concerned for the culture of coastal communities as well as for the individual fishermen and businesses that have been affected by the oil spill. Galle uses Google Maps to show customers where the spill has reached and where it has not, so they can see that not all areas are polluted.

“We are testing Mother Nature to the limit,” Galle said.

Galle organized “Dine Out for the Gulf Coast,” a nationwide weekend event with participating restaurants in 19 states. The event raised $100,000 for the Gulf Coast Oil Spill Fund.

Inspired by Galle’s success, Sean Ferneau and Keira Williams of Charleston, South Carolina created “Drink Up for the Gulf Coast,” which has turned into an ongoing schedule of fundraisers at local bars and restaurants.

Similar events have also been held in Chicago, Denver, and Portland, sponsored by eating and drinking establishments in those cities.

Back in New Orleans, the disaster has even inspired songwriters to benefit the Fund. Bobby McIntyre altered the lyrics of Louis Armstrong’s famous tune “What a Wonderful World” for his tongue-in-cheek version, “What a Wonderful Erl?” — turning dismay into laughter by using rhyme and a little local dialect.

The Greater New Orleans Foundation is accepting online donations to the Gulf Coast Oil Spill Fund at www.gnof.org. One hundred percent of all monies raised will go directly to benefit the areas most affected by the oil spill.

SOURCE Greater New Orleans Foundation

Source: newswire

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