Two local banks, Hospice of Santa Barbara and the son of a local celebrity are teaming up to help the families of the seven people killed by Jennifer San Marco on Jan. 30.
The downtown branch of the South Coast Community Federal Credit Union is collecting donations for the victims’ families. Deborah Barajas, supervisor of the branch, said people have donated approximately $5,000 so far. She said she is currently organizing a benefit concert, tentatively scheduled for April 29, that will feature Crosby Loggins — the son of local resident and musician Kenny Loggins — to raise more money for the account.
Lynette Coverly, vice president of marketing for Community West Bank, said the bank also set up an account for the victims’ families and is working with the Hospice of Santa Barbara to distribute the funds.
Barajas said South Coast Community Federal Credit Union decided to open an account for the victims’ families because three of the postal employees killed in the incident were customers. She said the money collected in the account will only benefit the families of the postal employees, but the funds collected at the concert will go into a separate account for the families of all of the victims, including San Marco’s former neighbor, Beverly Graham.
“[Graham] wasn’t included in the original account because we here at South Coast Community Federal Credit Union opened up the account for the postal employees, because they’re part of our members,” Barajas said. “With this one, I didn’t want to leave her out. She’s still a victim and her family is as well.”
Barajas said she wants to hold the event at the Lobero Theatre, but is waiting to hear from the venue’s owner. She said she recently convinced Loggins to perform at the concert for free and she thinks his father, Kenny Loggins, might attend as well. Tickets to the event will cost some money, but immediate family members of the victims will get in for free.
“There is going to be a charge for the benefit and then provisions will be able to be made if people want to make extra donations,” Barajas said. “Otherwise, it could get filled up with people who aren’t paying anything or donating anything.”
Barajas said she hopes local businesses and community members will donate the supplies for the event, so that the most proceeds possible will go to the victims’ families.
Coverly said all the money collected by Community West Bank for the Goleta Post Office Memorial Fund will go directly to the families of the victims, including Graham’s. The bank partnered with Hospice of Santa Barbara — a local organization that provides grief counseling and other services to people dealing with death — to create and manage the account.
“We’re working with Hospice in that we will distribute the funds to them and they will distribute the funds to the families because they are better equipped to work with the families, coming from a social service background,” Coverly said. “One hundred percent of the funds is going to the families, and it is being equally distributed to all the families.”
Community West Bank collected donations at the community memorial service on Sunday and is still accepting money for the fund, Coverly said. She said she does not know exactly how much money is in the account and she has not set a specific goal for how much money Community West will raise.
“We haven’t even thought that far ahead,” Coverly said. “Whatever comes in will get to the families and I’m sure whatever comes in will be helpful to them and useful.”
Coverly said she decided to coordinate an account for the victims’ families when she heard about the shooting while commuting to her job on Jan. 31.
“As soon as I heard about the incident driving into work on Tuesday morning, I thought, ‘We’re in a position as a bank to be able to help,’ and I actually heard the executive director of the hospice on the radio and I thought, ‘This is something we can do together,'” Coverly said. “Thanks to everyone’s cooperation, including the postmaster taking my phone call. Everyone came together. By 4 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon it was set and we announced it Wednesday morning.”
Coverly said she hopes people donate to the account because it is a good opportunity for local residents affected by the shooting to do something positive for the victims’ families.
“I think everyone that lives in the community has been aware of it and touched by it, and we feel this is an opportunity to help,” Coverly said. “Many people feel like ‘what can we do?’ And this is an opportunity to do something.”
Barajas said the credit union’s account has received donations every day since it opened. She said she hopes more local banks will open up accounts for the victims’ families.
“A lot of the donations have been $100 here, $200 there and $50 there,” Barajas said. “I think it’s wonderful – we’re getting donations everyday. There hasn’t been one day we’ve been open that we haven’t received several donations. I think the community is doing a great job, and I think the other bank is doing well, as well. I say the more the merrier. More banks should open up accounts.”
For more information about the benefit concert or donating to the South Coast Community Federal Credit Union, e-mail Barajas at firstname.lastname@example.org. Checks made out to the Goleta Post Office Memorial Fund can be sent to Community West Bank at 5827 Hollister Ave., Goleta, CA 93117. Donations will also be accepted at the Community West Bank branches in Goleta, Santa Barbara, Santa Maria, Lompoc and Ventura.