Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Rally for Rachel Widomski & Juli Liu at the Gallery Hop

This message came from John Angelo, Short North Business Association

Short North, Columbus, OH - On the evening of May 15, Rachel Widomski, a server at Haiku restaurant, and Juli Liu, co-owner of the restaurant, were seriously injured when they were literally run over by a dine-and-dash customer. Though Julie is on the road to recovery, Rachel's severe spinal cord trauma will leave her paralyzed from the waist down for life. Rachel's journey from this point will be long and extremely difficult. She and her family need our support for both immediate and long-term needs.

The Short North Business Association, the Central Ohio Restaurant Association and the Couchfire Collective (a Columbus arts organization) are collaboratively spearheading a series of events designed to help raise funds for Rachel's recovery. The events kick off with "Hope Weekend," Friday, June 6 - Sunday, June 8. In particular, several initiatives are being orchestrated during Saturday's Gallery Hop. Beginning at 6:00PM, volunteers will spearhead an art auction at The Art Exchange (17 East Brickel), a letter writing and fundraising campaign (650 N. High Street), and a concert by area bands at the intersection of High Street and Hubbard Avenue (the site of Rachel's assault).

Join the effort and help turn a horrible, senseless act into a message of Hope for recovery, and a new beginning for Rachel and her family. Complete details are posted at

If you cannot make the Gallery Hop, but would like to contribute in support of the Rachel Widomski Medical Care Trust, please visit any area Huntington Bank or visit to make contributions online.

"Hope Weekend" consists of five key components:

1) Over 60 businesses are participating citywide by placing collection jars on their counters and inviting their patrons to donate. Many servers are contributing their own tips and numerous businesses are matching the proceeds.

2) A "Place of Reflection" will be set up in the shop windows at 650 N. High Street... the space will feature Rachel's art, messages from the community (many in the form of haikus), information about Rachel's status, and much more. The space will be staffed from 6PM to 10PM during Gallery Hop.

3) A silent auction of donated art will be held at the Art Exchange, 17 E. Brickel (proceeds will go to Rachel's Trust), 6pm - 10pm

4) A lineup of bands and performers will be on stage at High and Hubbard outside Haiku Restaurant
6:30 pm - Bob Ray Starker
7:30 pm - Megan Palmer
8:30 pm - Karate Coyote
9:30 pm - Paper Airplane
10:30 pm - Two Cow Garage

5) "Big Night" at Studio 35, 3055 Indianola Avenue

Sunday, June 8 4:00pm
See the film "Big Night" for only $5
All proceeds will benefit the recovery fund.

More information is available at

Notable contributions:

Sysco of Central Ohio has committed a minimum of $10,000 ($.10 of every case of food they sell through June 7 will go to the fund)

Heartland Payment Systems has pledged a matching grant of up to $25,000. The grant can be activated by donations from the public or other businesses.

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