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Tsunami relief gains momentum

A benefit event is organized for Jan. 16, while local banks set up special funds.

As the suffering stemming from the Southeast Asian tsunami grows, so does the response from Bainbridge Islanders.

From the concerns of a group of local artists comes “A Wave of Caring: A Concert for Tsunami Relief,” to be held at 3 p.m. Jan. 16 in the Bainbridge High School gym.

“We have the power to impact change on the local level, and as more of us do that, we can affect the world,” said Marijane Milton, a mother, singer and member of the event organizing team.

“We can start with the arts. Through the arts we can express our humanity and our compassion,” she said.

The “Wave of Caring” concert will include performances by groups and individuals including Ovation! Musical Theater; the Bainbridge Chorale; Side by Side; Bella; Jon Doll; Corinna Lapid-Munter; Ron Milton; Eddie Williams; Janis Loken; Island Theatre; and the poets Kelli Russell Agodon and Tamara Sellman.

A variety of artists were still being added to the roster at press time, and Mayor Darlene Kordonowy is a participant as well.

“It’s a memorial, and it’s a message of hope,” said Linda Owens, a member of the concert organizing team.

The idea for the concert was born when a conversation among a group of artists left them all feeling hopeless and overwhelmed.

But not for long.

“It was the enormity of it, the loss and destruction to people who are among the poorest of the poor, and a desire to do something tangible,” that spurred the group into action, Owens said.

“The local artists and arts organizations all wanted to do something, and do it together. There has been a groundswell of support, and it’s been just wonderful.”

The organizers are hoping to enlist the help of local youth as volunteers and performers in the concert.

Updated information on the concert can be found on the Ovation! website at www.ovationmtb.com.

Donations will be required for admission to the concert, with proceeds going to the American Red Cross International Response Fund for tsunami victims.

Other tsunami relief efforts on the island include:

• Coins that Care: Change and checks payable to “Coins that Care” can be dropped off at any branch of American Marine Bank or mailed to the bank at P.O. Box 10788, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110.

Proceeds from the fund drive for tsunami victims will be distributed equally to UNICEF, Oxfam and Doctors Without Borders.

“What really struck us was families being so torn apart, not knowing what happened, the total lack of orientation in their lives,” said Nancy Quitslund, who has helped organize the Coins that Care effort. “I can’t think of anything worse.”

•American Red Cross: Donations to the agency’s International Relief Fund for tsunami victims can be dropped off at any of Kitsap Community Federal Credit Union’s 15 branches, including the Bainbridge Island branch on Hildebrand Lane, during the month of January.

Checks made payable to the Red Cross tsunami relief effort may be mailed to the credit union at 1025 Burwell St., Bremerton, WA 98337.

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