While the world is rallying support and donations for earthquake victims in Haiti, residents in our own back yard are in need of help and support after a winter storm ripped through their homes just a few weeks ago.
In Tonto Basin alone, dozens of residents are without a home after the Tonto Creek flooded its banks, tossing trailers on their sides and filling other homes with several feet of water and sludge. Without flood insurance, many of these homeowners are left wondering where they are going to go and how they are going to get back on their feet.
While the Grand Canyon Chapter of the American Red Cross is offering food and hotel vouchers, they are desperately in need of more contributions to keep services up. Since Jan. 12, the Red Cross has opened 12 shelters across Arizona and provided nearly 5,000 meals, at a cost of $125,000.
When Payson resident Mary Jordan heard about the devastation in Tonto Basin, she knew something had to be done to collect donations.
Jordan contacted local Red Cross volunteer Kathleen Kelly and the two decided to sponsor a variety show, dubbed the Home Town Country Show, 6 p.m., Thursday, March 11 in the Payson High School auditorium.
When word got out about the show, local bands started signing up in droves, Kelly said.
So far, the Hashknife Band, Junction 87, Trouble in Paradise, Rockin’ Ron Gibson and several other bands have signed on. In addition, Kelly’s Humor Me comedy group will perform a skit, the Payson Fire Department will bring a fire truck and discuss how they work with the Red Cross and the Color Guard will attend. Ken Brooks will host the event.
Jordan hopes to charge $10 a ticket for the 20- to 25-act show (For children under 12, the cost is $5).
“We in Arizona need to take care of our own,” Kelly said.
Rim Country residents have always supported fire and accident victims, Kelly said, and now it is time to support the latest flood victims.
Kelly said she has been surprised and delighted to see the support the town has offered victims of home fires.
“People will come out and give someone who just lost their home a place to stay or wrap their coat around them,” she said. “This is a wonderful, family town.”
While Kelly is a nurse by trade, she also is an avid writer and performer. She regularly performs with an improvisational group in town and for Halloween wrote a script for the Kohl’s Ranch show.
This show is the perfect place for anyone with a talent to show off his or her stuff, Kelly said.
While Kelly and Jordan hope to collect an abundant amount of donations through the show, they also hope a few people volunteer with the Red Cross.
Kelly said there are only two trained Red Cross volunteers for fires in the Rim Country.
“We need more people to help set up shelters and give out food,” Kelly said.
If you are interested in volunteering or donating, visit www.redcross.org.
In addition, if you are a business interested in donating to the talent show, contact Kelly at (928) 468-1614. Jordan plans to raffle off items several times during the show.