ST. PETERSBURG, Florida - More than a dozen local businesses have announced plans to raise funds for the families of slain officers Jeff Yaslowitz and Thomas Baitinger.
From happy hours to car washes to snack sales, the St. Petersburg community is pulling together to help the two women and three children left behind after Monday's tragedy.
Restaurants Bella Brava and Fresco are planning happy hour events Thursday and Monday, respectively.
National movie chain Muvico is donating a dollar from every large popcorn purchased Friday through Sunday.
"Muvico is supported by the communities in which it operates," said Muvico BayWalk 20 manager Laurie Parra. "In times of need like this, it's our duty to give back to those communities."
All four Tampa Bay Muvico theaters will be particitipating in the weekend fundraiser.
Brian Bailey, from iLoveTheBurg.com, is donating half of the site's January advertising revenue to the families and is encouraging his fellow business-owners to join the cause.
"The community has been good to us," Bailey said. "So when the community grieves, it's our responsibility to acknowledge that and do what we can do to give back."If we didn't have these men and women that put their life on the line everyday (for the police department), there'd be no community to enjoy."
Bailey recruited CrowdSavings.com to help out by selling $5 site credits for just $1, which will go to the official charity for the families.
Bella Brava, at 204 Beach Dr. NE in St. Petersburg, will donate 50 percent of all food and bar sales from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Thursday.
Fresco's Waterfront Bistro will host a $25/person event Monday evening with complemetary hors' d'oeurves and drink specials will all proceeds going to the families' trust.
Nikos Pizza and Seafood in Oldsmar, where Yaslowitz' wife taught kindergarden, will hold a fundraising event with raffles, music, and opportunities to donate from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, February 5.
Quick Q BBQ and Predator Patrol will host an all-day event (11 a.m. to 9 p.m.) at 3441 Central Ave. to benefit the officers. They'll have food, auctions, car/bike washes, events for kids, music, and more. They is also a motorcycle run starting at "The Sore Elbow" at 1213 W. Waters Ave. in Tampa with breakfast at 8 a.m.
The Tampa Bay Rays will also contribute a portion of proceeds from their Feb. 19 Fan Fest at Tropicana Field.
And Lisa Brown, who lost her son to violence in South St. Pete, is hosting a car wash Saturday to make sure SPPD knows - despite a strained relationship at times - the city's south side appreciates their service.
"(The officers) are someone's brother, sister, mom, dad...they're people just like us," Brown said. "They just wear a badge. And if we didn't have the St. Pete Police Department, we wouldn't have law and we wouldn't have order."
You can also make contributions to the official charity for the families left behind:
Suncoast Law Enforcement Charities, Inc.
14141 46th Street North, Suite 1205
Clearwater, Florida 33762
The charity, run by local officers, will be contributing 100 percent of money received to the families of the two fallen officers. They will also be selling T-shirts and plan to partner with local radio hosts Todd "M.J." Schnitt and Bubba the Love Sponge to sell shirts and possibly bracelets.
Representatives from the charity warn they will not be going door-to-door or phoning anyone to make donations. If you encounter anyone soliciting donations, beware.
Here is some more charity information released by the City of St. Petersburg;
1. The Police Benevolent Association is rolling out T-shirts to honor Sgt. Thomas J. Baitinger and Officer Jeffrey A. Yaslowitz. Suncoast Law Enforcement Charities, part of the PBA, is having T-shirts printed to raise funds for the families. The St. Petersburg officers' T-shirt will sell for $15. A limited number of T-shirts will be available Thursday evening at St. Petersburg Police headquarters, 1300 First Ave. N. They also will be sold on Saturday at Quaker Steak and Lube, 10400 49th St. N., and beginning Monday, at PBA offices, 14141 46th St. N.
2. Blood Drive in Honor of the Fallen: Saturday, January 29, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Jim's Harley-Davidson, 2805 54th Ave. N., is hosting a Blood Drive in honor of the St. Pete Police Officers killed earlier this week. This has caused the Bayfront Medical Center to order 18 additional units of Type O negative blood. Since this has drained what already were low reserves at Florida Blood Services' main distribution depot, FBS is low in all blood types and could use your help. Jim's Harley-Davidson is giving every customer who gives blood a one-time 15% off your entire purchase coupon (*Not valid on motorcycles and labor). Thank you in advance for your help! Jim's HD: 727-527-9672.
3. A fundraiser for families of the slain officers will be Monday, January 31, 5 to 8 p.m., at Fresco's Waterfront Bistro, 300 Second Ave. N.E. in St. Petersburg. 727-894-4429. Live music, free hors d'oeuvres, drink specials, door prizes, live and silent auction (gift certificates and items already donated from Rays, American Stage, Dali Museum, Renaissance Vinoy Resort, and countless local establishments). $25 donation. Proceeds will be donated through Suncoast Law Enforcement PBA Charities and Wachovia Bank in the name of Suncoast Law Enforcement PBA Charities/Baitinger/Yaslowitz.
4. Starting Thursday, January 27 through Saturday, January 29, CrowdSavings.com, a site offering daily deals discounted 50-90%, will offer consumers the ability to purchase $5 in credit for just $1 redeemable for any future deal. CrowdSavings.com will even be covering credit card fees so every dollar earned will be donated. http://www.facebook.com/crowdsavings
5. Tampa Bay Area Muvico Theaters will donate $1 from every large popcorn purchase, as a stand-alone or part of a combo, from Friday to Sunday, January 28 to 30. Participating Bay Area theater locations include Muvico BayWalk 20, Muvico Starlight 20, Palm Harbor 10 and Centro Ybor 20. www.Muvico.com
6. BellaBrava, at 204 Beach Dr. N.E. in downtown St. Petersburg, will donate 50% of happy hour bar sales (including food) from 5:30-7:00 p.m., this Thursday, January 27th. http://www.facebook.com/BellaBrava
7. iLovetheBurg.com will donate 50% of online advertising revenues for the month of January. http://www.iLovetheBurg.com
8. Tampa Bay Rays announced on Tuesday that a portion of the proceeds from the Rays Fan Fest will go to benefit the families of the slain officers. The 2011 Tampa Bay Rays Fan Fest presented by MetroPCS is Saturday, February 19, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Tropicana Field. Admission and parking are free for all fans, but a donation will allow fans the opportunity to get autographs from Rays players and coaches throughout the day. There will also be a "garage sale" of unique game-used and autographed memorabilia dating back to the inaugural season. Fans can log on to raysbaseball.com for more information about Fan Fest. More details will be released next month.
Anyone wishing to donate funds to the families of the two fallen officers may send contributions to: The Jeffrey Yazslowitz/Thomas Baitinger Memorial Fund at a local Wachovia Bank or to Suncoast Law Enforcement Charities, Inc., 14141 46th Street North, Suite 1205, Clearwater, FL 33762. For more information or to inquire about Credit Card donations, call 727-532-1722.