The 1,500 miles between Fort Collins and the hardest-hit parts of the Gulf Coast are not enough to stop local businesses and residents from helping out.
Businesses and foundations have been offering their services in a variety of facets, providing everything from jobs and services to donations and fundraisers for the Red Cross.
David Baran, owner of the UPS store, 1281 E. Magnolia St., has committed to ship 100 care packages, each weighing about 20 pounds, to families in New Orleans suffering from the effects of Katrina.
"One hundred families isn't even scratching the surface," Baran said. "But from far away Fort Collins, it has some meaning."
Baran encourages interested parties to seek out addresses of loved ones. He recommended items for care packages include things the Red Cross can't provide, such as family memorabilia or special items of interest.
"Just to know they have family out there thinking about them, that means a whole lot," Baran said.
Fort Collins restaurants Domenic's, 931 E. Harmony Rd., and Buca Bistro, 130 N. Mason St. are pooling their services for a benefit dinner Sept. 18. The restaurants, owned by Brian Tessari , will be serving a variety of pastas, with a salad and beverages for $19.95. Reservations will be booked for one of four hour-and-a-half spots that evening.
"Basically we're shutting down for business (for Sept. 18)," Tessari said. "We're trying to get 70 people per time slot. If we do that, the goal is to raise $10,000."
Tessari has been in contact with the Red Cross, and the proceeds from the dinner will be distributed through the organization.
Recycled Cycles, 4031 S. Mason St., is trying to help victims find normality again.
"The best way for us to help them is with employment and housing," said Rachel Hassell , operations manager for Recycled Cycles.
Hassell said Recycled Cycles is offering temporary and full-time positions at the shop for individuals in the bicycle industry who were displaced by the hurricane. Along with providing employment, two of the store's vendors have committed to financial assistance towards airfare. Quality Inn and Suites, 4001 S. Mason St., has offered to provide free housing for the store's new employees.
Hassell said a difficult part of the operation has simply been finding interested individuals, due to the lack of viable communication in New Orleans.
"Given our industry and what's going on, it will probably be word of mouth," Hassell said. "I have full faith that by Sunday or Monday, we'll actually be talking to people that need jobs."
LOCAL BUSINESSES HELPING THE KATRINA RELIEF EFFORT
Recycled Cycles 223-1969 ext. 5, or their Web site at www.recycled-cycles.com.
To attend the benefit dinner, contact Domenic's at 207-0411 or Buca Bistro at 407-8100.
Lucky Joe's is set to give all tips to the Red Cross for the hurricane relief effort.
Tailgate Tommy's will donate $1 from every hamburger sale for the month of September.
Eliot's Mess will be donating all profits from sales on Saturday to the American Red Cross. Open from 11 to 3 a.m. Call 484-MESS for more details.
A relief benefit concert featuring Plan B., In the Red and 80M will be held Saturday, September 17 at the Aggie Theatre. All ages show, $5. For more information visit www.wnent.com
To donate directly to the Red Cross, contact the Centennial Chapter at 226-5728 or visit their Web site at www.coloradoredcross.org.