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With all the calamity going on in Japan, one woman in Shelbyville wants to make a difference – if only she can get some help.
Mallory Taylor said she saw the horrible destruction on television after an earthquake and tsunami destroyed coastal cities, killing thousands, and then unleashed the threat of nuclear contamination across the county.
“I was crying and upset. It was terrible,” Taylor said. “I just wanted to do something.”
And that’s what she set out to do – in any way that she could.
Unlike the tsunami in Southeast Asia in 2004 and the earthquake in Haiti just last year, humanitarian aid efforts in the United States to help Japan have been much less aggressive and obvious.
There was a letter-to-the-editor in The Sentinel-Newson Tuesday from a Japanese native living in Shelby County who begged residents to help his homeland.
The American Red Cross is gathering donations, of course, and that’s where Taylor plans to steer the money she is collecting – and hopes to collect.
She started by selling candy bars and placing a donation jar at Liquor World, where she works, and her husband’s employer, the accounting firm Crowe Horwath, has pledged to match whatever she can raise.
So far, that’s $150 earned and $300 with the match..
Taylor said she really was at a loss at what to do next, so she gathered a half-dozen or so of her friends and is organizing a bake sale for April 9 at the Waldridge Center in Clear Creek Park.
“We’re going to sell candy bars and dollar candles, going to home-make cupcakes, cookies and brownies,” she said.
“I’m trying to have a food drive, too. I saw there are thousands without water, food and electricity, so I’m trying to do that.”
If these sound like small ideas and in an out-of-the-way location for such a great need, don’t blame Taylor.
First, she contacted the Red Cross, and then she planned to set up her sale in front of Walmart.
“But the manager said I needed something on letterhead [from the Red Cross], and the Red Cross said they didn’t do that,” she said.
“We don’t endorse a particular individual or organization, but we will get money to Japanese relief effort,” said Angela Disch Red Cross service center manager in Shelbyville.
So then she wanted to have the sale at the Shelby County Fairgrounds. “But they wanted three hundred dollars a day,” she said.
She tried First Baptist Church. “But you have to be a member,” she said.
She tried Operation Care. “But they’re not allowed to do this,” she said.
“This is my first time doing anything like this. I don’t know how to go about getting help.
And now she is at the Waldridge Center, “the only place I could think of to have it. They already have tables and chairs there.”
Taylor is a native of Shelby County, and she and her husband, Jeremy Hall, moved back here last fall after he graduated from Berea College and got a job as an assistant to an accounting group at Horwath.
She knows the roots of this county, and she is hoping that her bake sale can help reach across the Pacific and spread the goodness of her friends and neighbors.
“My goal is a thousand dollars,” she said. “I hope to get that and two thousand with the match.”