In the face of tragedy, most of us don’t know what to do.
Joe Naylor, owner of a sandwich and salads eatery on Huntington Drive in Duarte, was in that category. That is, until he copied a photo from the Star-News and began pasting them onto empty paint cans. The result so far has been about $10,000 in donations raised for the families of 16-year-old Sammantha Salas and 19-year-old Brandon Lee who were killed in separate shootings recently in the Duarte-Monrovia area.
“We’ve had people donate food stamps, anything they can,” he told me Friday. “We’re working with Cal National Bank … 100 percent of what we get goes to the families.”
Naylor told me the effort was the community’s response to the recent gang shootings in the area and the killing of these innocent bystanders. The money will be used to help the families defray the cost of burying their children.
“When we saw that picture, it really hit us hard,” Naylor said, referring to the Feb. 1 photo showing Jeanette Chavez, Sammantha’s mother, receiving comfort from Willie Lee Jr., father of Brandon Lee. The two parents in a poweful show of unity, called on gang members to stop the violence.
Joe’s Place employees placed cans in 30 different locations, including other restaurants, Cal National Bank, even golf courses. He’s received checks for $5, $10, $200 and up to $1,000. (Checks should be made out to FBO (For the Benefit Of): Salas/Lee.) “It is a good way to show the community will pull together to help someone in need,’ he said.