Last week, 17 people, including students and staff, were killed in a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Many others were injured. Thousands of miles away, in Skagway, Alaska, one family wanted to help those affected.
When Skagway resident Greg Getz heard the news, he knew he wanted to offer some sort of support.
“My wife and I saw that on T.V,” Getz said. “And for no other reason, you’re just walking around the house, you start getting choked up, and you have no personal connection with these people but because of what you see you feel like you do. We really didn’t know what to do. So we put that thing on Facebook asking if everybody else felt the same way and they did. And that’s how it all started.”
Getz put a message out on the Skagway Swap Facebook page – a community marketplace.
Getz said he and his wife Diana were thinking of holding a fundraiser to benefit the victims and families of those affected by the Florida shooting.
The idea: to sell barbeque sandwiches for a $5 donation.
Getz says he put together similar fundraisers twice before, when he lived in Nome, but wanted to make sure it was feasible in the small community of Skagway. He lived in Texas for 17 years – that’s where the barbeque inspiration comes from.
More than 100 people responded to the Facebook post. They said they’d take four, 10, even 20 sandwiches in a few cases.
Getz estimates they sold 190-200 in total.
“We normally keep track of the buns because of the bags that we have,” Getz said. “Well, there were so many kids helping out, that everybody came. It was just my wife and I setting everything up. When they saw that we were having trouble, everybody jumped in. They started helping out. So some of the bags got thrown away but I’m just guessing, somewhere around there.”
The donations are still coming in. Getz says they total about $1,700 so far. He’s hoping that reaches $1,800.
“I’ve never done it for anything like this,” Getz said. “And the other fundraisers I’ve had up in Nome, they were cash. You collect the money, you give it to the family and that’s the end of it. So this one’s a little bit different. ”
Getz says he plans to donate the money raised through the fundraising website GoFundMe.
The Getz family will continue collecting donations until Thursday afternoon.