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Post image for Menlo Park family takes action on immigration policy with fundraising campaign

It was the photo of a young girl at the border about to be separated from her mother that caught Menlo Park resident Charlotte Willner’s attention. She decided to take action, and along with her husband Dave and friend Malorie McGee, started a fundraising campaign on Facebook for the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES) last Saturday morning (June 16) with a goal of raising $1,500, the minimum amount to cover bond fees.

Word spread around the country — and then the world — and they’ve raised $11,255,540 as of Wednesday morning, June 20,  from 125,000+ people. The effort is showing no sign of stopping with a new fundraising goal of $15,000,000; additional donations are welcome.

“Regardless of political party, so many of us are distraught over children being separated from their parents at the border,” said Charlotte. “We can’t all be on the frontlines to help these families, but by supporting RAICES, we’re able to do something that takes less than a minute, and collectively has an impact.

“When we all come together in community efforts like this, we can find an antidote to the feelings of helplessness. This is just the start though, and donating is the easy part, so our hope is that people continue to be hungry for information and get involved.”

The campaign has been so successful that Facebook had to update their product to allow for more giving because the previous cap was $5 million. “Facebook only permits you to set one beneficiary of a fundraiser, but there are other amazing organizations out there that also need support, including Texas Civil Rights Project and the Florence Project,” said Charlotte.

Photo courtesy of Willner family; Honduran child photographed by John Moore

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Update on community effort to buy Alpine Beer Garden

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Lucy Neely sent out this email about the community effort to buy Rossotti’s: “Portola Valley Community Roadhouse, LLC offers our gratitude for your support the last couple of weeks, and our apologies for not being able to respond to all inquiries! We will write back soon. “The deadline for submission of Letters of Intent to […]

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Cafe Zoë is inviting locals to wear orange on June 2

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From Cafe Zoë: “This isn’t political. It’s for the kids. We will be wearing orange and decorating the cafe in orange (beyond the usual amount you see in the logo) to honor the lives lost to gun violence. We hope for a better tomorrow.” The Cafe will be open on Saturday, June 2, from 8:00 […]

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Menlo Park celebrates Earth Day in numerous ways and places, thanks to Menlo Spark

Thumbnail image for Menlo Park celebrates Earth Day in numerous ways and places, thanks to Menlo Spark

Menlo Spark is doing some fun events this week in Menlo Park for earth day. Last Tuesday, we helped students at Oak Knoll Elementary School make pledges for one thing they’ll do for Earth Day this year, posting those pledges, making a paper tree (below left).  Oak Knoll faculty and parent volunteers have done an […]

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Spotted: InMenlo photographer Irene Searles at Women’s March in Oaxaca

Thumbnail image for Spotted: InMenlo photographer Irene Searles at Women’s March in Oaxaca

Your InMenlo team is spread across the globe at the moment. While Menlo Park and Atherton women participated in Bay Area Women’s Marches, contributing photographer Irene Searles (far right) was taking part in a march in Oaxaca, Mexico And she made the local paper: “… I was interviewed  at the Women’s Vigil in Oaxaca. My […]

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Women from Menlo Park and Atherton take part in variety of Bay Area Women’s Marches

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Marchers that numbered in the ten thousands across a variety of Bay Area locations took part in the Women’s March today, a year after the inaugural event. The issue remained the same: opposition to Trump and his policies. But did the fact that sun greeted marchers rather than the rain of last year mean good […]

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Belle Haven community activist Cecilia Taylor works to keep neighborhood civically engaged

Thumbnail image for Belle Haven community activist Cecilia Taylor works to keep neighborhood civically engaged

Cecilia Taylor is a third-generation resident of Menlo Park. Both her mother and grandfather have been active in the Belle Haven neighborhood where she was raised and now lives. After living in the northern Peninsula for a number of years, she came home in 2015 and promptly ran for a Menlo Park City Council seat […]

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Last call to support Menlo Park Police Explorers’ “One Warm Coat” collection drive

Thumbnail image for Last call to support Menlo Park Police Explorers’ “One Warm Coat” collection drive

In their 6th annual participation in the “One Warm Coat” drive, the Menlo Park Police Explorers continue to collect coats for those who need a warm coat for the winter through January 5th. New or clean, gently used coats of all shapes and sizes are welcome. Just bring your coats and jackets to the donation bin […]

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Local band gathers instruments for victims of Sonoma County fires

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One way that people — especially children — who lost their homes during the wine country fires can get some pleasure and start rebuilding their lives is to start playing musical instruments and participate in the bands and orchestras like they did prior to the fires. The members of the Los Trancos Woods Community Marching […]

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Rishan Patel gets involved with Alley Oop Kids by raising money for Ecumenical Hunger Program

Thumbnail image for Rishan Patel gets involved with Alley Oop Kids by raising money for Ecumenical Hunger Program

Over the years, we’e covered the activities of Menlo Park teen Shay Patel and his Alley Oop Kids organization. Now his 11-year-old brother, Rishan, is getting involved. He assembled a group of third to sixth graders and raised $3,600 this past month to donate to Ecumenical Hunger Program in East Palo Alto. Emails the boys’ mother Supna: […]

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Eboo Patel speaks about his work as founder of Interfaith Youth Core

Thumbnail image for Eboo Patel speaks about his work as founder of Interfaith Youth Core

Social entrepreneur and founder of Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC), Eboo Patel (pictured right) was in Menlo Park earlier this week appearing at a couple of events sponsored by Christ Church in Portola Valley. “IFYC was founded on a simple premise that religion should be a bridge of cooperation rather than a barrier of division,” he […]

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