BEL AIR, Md. (WMAR) — In a small town like Bel Air, when tragedy strikes, it strikes hard. After a terrible 12-car crash took the lives of two people Monday morning, the community is once again proving just how tight knit they are.
"You're only as strong as you are with the community around you so you know when things like that happen, being an enormous restaurant like we are, we have an opportunity to help people," Black Eyed Suzie's owner Brian Acquavella said.
He immediately knew he wanted to plan a fundraiser for the family of 7-year-old Tripp Johnson. Little did he know, his chef Jacob Nelson is friends with Tripp's father.
"He thought the world of his son. Being a father myself, it's hard for me to fathom the loss," Nelson said.
He says the Johnson's are grateful for the love and support, and he is too.
"We're definitely overwhelmed with the response we got," Nelson said.
After a huge positive response overnight, Acquavella decided to make it even bigger, reaching out to nearby MaGerk's Pub and Grill to see if they would join in.
"To make sure we can raise as much money as possible," Acquavella said.
Thursday, both restaurants will be donating 20 percent of sales to the Johnson family. They are also collecting items from local businesses to raffle off to raise more money.
"This is the kind of stuff where the family needs to see that the community is behind them," Acquavella said.
"We're trying to up-bring the spirits of people who lost somebody near and dear to them. You can never replace a son but we are hoping to recoup the spirit a little bit," Nelson said.
Below is a list of places that are donating money or collecting donations for victims and families:
- Main Street Fundraiser for the Johnson Family: On Thursday, both Black Eyed Suzie's and MaGerk's BelAir will be donating 20 percent of sales to the family. All tips at the upstairs bar of Black Eyed Suzie's will also be donated.
- Bonefish Grill: On Monday, March 18, Bonefish will donate 25 percent of it’s proceeds to the Johnson family.
- Go Fund Me: This Go Fund Me is set up by Tripp’s mother’s employer
- The Hair Lodge, Salon Studio: Collecting donations
- With Love Beauty Bar & Studios: Collecting donations until Saturday at 3 p.m.
- Flavor Cupcakery: On Thursday, March 14, Flavor Cupecakery will donate 20 percent of sales from their Bel Air and Cockeysville shops.
- Autoshowcase: The store in Fallston will donate $50 to Tripp's family for every car sold through the end of the month.
- Caprichos Books: 15% of all sales from 10-6 on Thursday, March 14th.
- Uptown Cheapskate: 15% of sales on Thursday, March 14th.
- 510 Johnny’s: On Thursday, March 14, they will donate 20 percent of proceeds.
- Charm City Run - Bel Air: 20 percent of sales will be donated to the Klein and John families on Thursday.