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  • 15 Apr 2014

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From $152 to $5,800, community puts its money where its heart is - with Anna and Abigail

Fundraising - both planned and spontaneous - honors sisters and their parents


by: COURTESY PHOTO - Nutcracker ticket sales helped raise $5,000 toward a scholarship for children who wouldnt otherwise be able to attend classes at Forest Grove Dance Arts. The scholarship honors Abigail and Anna, who spent years studying dance through the organization.After the tragic October accident that killed Forest Grove sisters Abigail Robinson and Anna Dieter-Eckerdt while they played in a pile of leaves, community members looked for ways to express their grief.

The most obvious channels for the outpouring of love and support were money and time.

Some of the money will support dance scholarships, some will fund new equipment at a playground near the girls’ home, some will be used for causes that express the girls’ personalities and wishes.

Here’s a recap of the community’s efforts:

  • HPS Pipe & Supply in Cornelius donated 10 percent of its profits for two days, collecting $1,000.
  • The Visitation Catholic Church youth group raised $400 at a bake sale Nov. 17. “We felt a connection through the community,” said Traci Vanaken, one of the bake sale organizers, who added that it was the group’s most successful bake sale. “We thought it would be a good way to give back and teach the kids to serve the community.”
  • BJ’s Coffee Co. collected $250 in a jar over eight days.
  • Urban Decanter raised $562.68. “It happened in my neighborhood and I drove by the evening that it happened. My heart sank and I knew it was bad and all I could do was hope that everyone was okay,” said owner Becky Kramer. “I was struck by sadness and also found it hard to comprehend the situation...I was also struck with joy watching the community come together like it did.”
  • Pacific University’s Greek Life-sponsored “penny wars” brought in $152. by: COURTESY PHOTO - Holland Painting owner Ramses Verlinden donated a house-painting job to the parents of Anna and Abigail. While he donated his own time, Verlinden is still accepting donations to help cover the cost of his employees labor. Call 503-830-2991 for more information.
  • Sugar Shack owner Tamara Doner brought in about $5,800 in donations at her coffee stand on the corner of 19th Avenue and Main Street, just a block from the accident site. “I didn’t know their financial situation, but I know there are all kinds of little things that come up when tragedies like this happen,” Doner said. “I’m really glad we were able to help. Forest Grove is awesome.”

  • Papa Murphy’s in Forest Grove collected more than $500.
  • Izgara Middle Eastern Restaurant also held a fundraiser, donating 25 percent of profits made during one day of business, which brought in $500. Jamie Erickson and Oser Yaov, owners of Izgara, said their children went to school with Anna and Abigail.
  • Through “Nutcracker” ticket sales and donations, Forest Grove Dance Arts has collected more than $5,000 to go toward a dance scholarship “in memory of the girls and all of their years in dance,” said Patty Petersen, FGDA artistic director. According to Petersen, the group would like to offer a scholarship to a few kids each year who can’t afford dance lessons. Donations for the Ballet Forest Grove Anna and Abby Scholarship Fund will also be accepted at Bank of the West. “We want Susan and Tom to know how much we loved the girls and want to honor them as well as their daughters,” Petersen said.
  • Holland Painting donated a free house-painting to the family. While Rodda Paint donated the paint for the job and Holland Painting owner Ramses Verlinden donated his own time, he also sought and received enough donations to cover about 75 percent of the rest of the job’s costs, estimated at $10,000.
  • The Forest Grove Fire Department firefighters and volunteers spent a total of about 40 person-hours replacing the Dieter-Robinson family’s deck, a project worth an estimated $3,000 to $3,500.
  • The Dilley Parent Teacher Organization also raised money but does not have an estimate for the total raised.
  • Sonrise Church and Columbia Community Bank continue to collect donations on an individual basis.
  • The Cycle of Life event held Nov. 9 brought in $4,800. “I know when tragedy strikes and you are helpless, it helps to dive in and help in every way you can. This seemed like a positive way to do this,” said Maggie Pike, who spearheaded the event. “It was a wonderful show of love and support that this community is so good at. I hope that we can continue to create this event on an annual basis so that we always remember two lovely little girls.”