Donors dig deep to help after Old Market blaze

More than $35,000 has been raised to help those affected by the Old Market fire last month. Here’s an update on the various fundraising efforts:

» The Salvation Army on Monday had $14,250 in the Old Market Employee Emergency Fund. Much of that money, said Susan Eustice, spokeswoman for the Salvation Army in Omaha, came from a sale last weekend at Brite Ideas in the Blackstone District. The business suffered its own fire in 2005.

“The big thing now is getting the word out so we can distribute the funds,” Eustice said.

Displaced Old Market employees can call a special hotline to access assistance. Services, including basic necessities, are available. The hotline is at 402-898-7537.

People also can still donate to the fund. Visit salarmyomaha.org and click on the banner at the top of the page.

» An online crowdfunding page also designed to benefit displaced Old Market workers has, so far, raised more than $11,000.

David Kerr, who started the page, said he plans to keep the page up and running. Kerr, who owns and runs the Tavern in the Old Market, is also a member of the Old Market Business Association. He said the initial $10,000 donated was deposited into the business association’s bank account and has been divided among The Market House, Nouvelle Eve and M’s Pub according to each business’s number of employees.

Because money continues to come into the crowdfunding page, Kerr said he is looking at ways to help additional Old Market businesses affected by the fire.

» A fundraiser in late January at Nite Owl in the Blackstone District raised $9,000. Plans for the fund distribution weren’t available.

» Another online crowdfunding page, which was collecting funds only for displaced workers at M’s Pub, collected $2,240 and distributed the funds to M’s co-owner Ron Samuelson. Samuelson gave the money raised to an unidentified M’s employee who was injured in the explosion and has not been able to work while he recuperates from injuries.

» An event at the Sydney in Benson last week raised $3,000 for M’s Pub employees. Heather Tedesco, the manager of the Sydney, said that money, which was the total amount of tips raised during the event, was divided among the 16 M’s Pub employees who worked at the Sydney that day. She said the funds raised as part of an ongoing online auction will be divided among all of the M’s Pub employees, not just the ones who worked in Benson last week.

The online auction, which includes a variety of items such as photographs, theater tickets, restaurant gift cards and more, is at mspubfundraiser2016.eflea.ca/view. Bidding will continue through the end of the week.

Contact the writer: 402-444-1069, sarah.bakerhansen@owh.com, twitter.com/SBHOWH

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