Supporting Katrina Victims

Supporting Katrina Victims

Several efforts throughout Reston took place over the holiday weekend to help Hurricane Katrina victims.

For the past week and a half, children in Reston, and indeed throughout the country, have watched the devastation of New Orleans and the Gulf coast left by the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

Wanting to help the people they’ve seen on TV, Scott and Tim Browning, along with a few of their neighborhood friends, wanted to help.

“It’s hard for them,” said Karen Browning, Scott and Tim’s mother. “We made a family donation, but the kids wanted to do something.”

So they set up a lemonade stand, something they’d tried in the past. “They actually came up with this on their own,” said Browning.

When Sam Hijar, 12, arrived at the stand, the children had lost track of how many customers they’d had. “I think like 10 or so,” said Scott Browning.

Hijar, more concerned about the victims of Katrina than his lemonade, paid double for a glass. “I’ve watched on TV and seen a lot of people out there on the streets and they need food,” Hijar said. “We need to help all of them.”

Karen Browning and some of the other neighborhood parents were happy to see their kids catch the spirit of giving. “We’re so proud of them,” she said.

EFFORTS LIKE THESE have sprouted up throughout the community. Many other children in Reston had lemonade stands and bake sales to raise money to help. Brenna DeBellas, 8, and her friend Megan Munno, 8, set up a lemonade stand for donations to the Red Cross. Brenna's mother, Leslie DeBellas, helped make signs and baked brownies and cookies to give away. The children raised $230 to give to the Red Cross.

For people visiting Reston Association’s Web site, they’ll see a new, flashing link to the American Red Cross that says, “Hurricane Katrina: How you can help.”

In response to the call for aid, Reston Football Club’s RFC United, a girls’ U16 travel soccer team, has rallied together to raise funds in support of the Red Cross’ efforts towards hurricane relief. The team, which went down to Greensboro, N.C., for the Labor Day Shootout, has also committed financial support to people on teams in the devastated region. Parents and players have pledged to continue their fund-raising efforts while at the tournament.

Local churches and other area organizations have tried to reach out to their memberships to help raise money for victims of Katrina.

The Rev. Ron Winters of Resurrection Baptist Church announced over the weekend that he would be collecting food and other essentials for Katrina victims that were evacuated to the D.C. Armory. On Tuesday, filling a 20-foot truck donated by Public Storage of Herndon, Winters delivered supplies — food, clothes, blankets and toys — to a drop-off site on M Street in Washington, D.C.

—Jason Hartke