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Campaign to aid Tucson workers who rely on tips raises $4,200

Campaign to aid Tucson workers who rely on tips raises $4,200

From the May's Tucson-area coronavirus coverage: Cases rise, judge rules that state can keep nursing home data from public series

The Tips for Tucson campaign divided the initial $4,200 that was raised among 200 people, or $25 per person. “It was not very much ... but it was still enough that it made people’s lives that much less stressful for a minute,” said co-director Justine Wadsack.

An effort to raise money for Tucson’s restaurant workers and others in the service and entertainment industries has directly helped 200 people.

The Tips for Tucson campaign is designed to aid workers who rely on tips. In its first two weeks, the effort, spearheaded by Justine Wadsack, Eric Smith and Kyle Blessinger, raised $4,200.

The proceeds were split evenly between 200 people who reached out for assistance.

Each person received $25, which Wadsack said might not sound like a lot. But for many of the recipients, the money paid for a tank of gas so they could visit loved ones or a cellphone bill so they could apply for unemployment benefits.

“These are people who live on very small incomes and now their incomes are gone,” said Wadsack, who once worked in the hospitality industry and relied on tips to make ends meet. “It was not very much when you look at $4,200 over 200 people, but it was still enough that it made people’s lives that much less stressful for a minute.”

Wadsack said the campaign raised the money over two weeks through donations and the sale of donated items, including chef knives and Facebook live concerts, including one featuring Roger Clyne that was broadcast from Frog & Firkin on East University Boulevard.

“I’m very, very impressed with our ability to raise that much money so quickly,” said Wadsack.

Wadsack said Tips for Tucson is an ongoing campaign. For information on donating or how to receive funding, visit the group’s Facebook page at tucne.ws/tucsontips.

The campaign has more than 1,000 followers on Facebook, up from the original 600 days after it launched in mid-April.

Contact reporter Cathalena E. Burch at cburch@tucson.com or 573-4642. On Twitter @Starburch

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