MAPLEWOOD - An annual event in Maplewood turned into a fundraiser for displaced workers after a construction accident closed a popular hangout.
Regulars say they knew the staff at Coda and wanted to give them a helping hand after a partial collapse last week that left a worker dead, another injured and dozens of workers displaced.
"Everybody acted very quickly to rally behind the deceased, but also the workers that were displaced by the accident," says Julie Dornan, of the Maplewood Village Alliance.
The Maplewood Village Alliance decided that "Girls' Night Out" was the perfect opportunity to rally behind those affected by the tragedy. The event includes shopping and dining in an evening devoted to commerce and community.
First, nearly $7,000 was raised for the victim's family to help with funeral expenses. Then tip jars were placed at participating downtown businesses to collect funds to make up for the restaurant staff's loss of income.
"I have a long history of being a starving artist, back in my 20s, and being a waitress and a bartender," says realtor Vanessa Pollock. "The first thing I thought after those two families, was how can we help that staff? Because those folks, you know, are shift to shift. That tip money is really important to their livelihood."
Another jar was placed outside Coda's door, which would have been packed if it was open, since Thursday is Ladies Night.
There's been no official word on when Coda will reopen, just a feeling among many in Maplewood, that it can't happen soon enough.