Girl Scouts, casino workers join effort |

Girl Scouts, casino workers join effort

Karen Woodmansee
Appeal Staff Writer

BRAD HORN/Nevada Appeal GirlScouts Kaitlin Vairo, 9, from left, AnnJi Hodorowicz, 8, Kylie Riske, 9, and Lisarah Simonson, 9, try to coax a trucker into honking his horn on Carson Street on Wednesday.

Being a Girl Scout means something to 9-year-old Kiley Riske. It means you’re supposed to help others.

“If you’re not in the Girl Scouts you still should help, but if you are in the Girl Scouts, you should really help,” she said.

Help they did as Kiley and her sister, Kiara, 12, and sisters Nicole Vairo, 11, Kaitlin Vairo, 9, all members of Girl Scout Troop 168 of Carson City, spent a good part of Wednesday collecting donated items to aid the fire victims in South Lake Tahoe.

Troop Leader Cathy Vairo and the girls spent the day in the Carson Mall parking lot accepting clothes, blankets, pet food, toys, nonperishable foods and other items.

“We want to help the people who lost their houses,” Nicole Vairo said.

Her sister Kaitlin followed the Golden Rule as her reason for helping.

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“I know I would feel really heartbroken if it happened to me,” she said.

Cathy Vairo said the girls came up with the idea, contacted the media and others who might help, and also called groups that could receive and distribute the items.

She said response from the community has been huge, and the girls got some help from Western Nevada Performing Arts and other Girl Scout groups.

“Someone even sent out an e-mail to the state workers,” she said.

Troop 168 will be in the same spot collecting from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. and 4-8 p.m. today, from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Friday and 9-11 a.m. Saturday, Cathy Vairo said.

She said the pet food donations will go to Pet Network in Incline Village, the blankets will go to the emergency shelter at Carson High School and the clothing items will go to the Sierra Recovery Center in South Lake Tahoe.

It wasn’t just old, used items being dropped off either, said Kiara Riske. “Some people brought things that were brand new. Some went to Smith’s and bought stuff to give.”

At Casino Fandango, more than 300 people dropped off food, clothing, blankets and other items, turning a greenhouse into a donation center.

The casino began accepting donations since early Tuesday morning and had about half sorted by Wednesday afternoon, with more coming in.

Casino security operations manager Ted White said the casino was not just donating to fire victims, but firefighters.

“We’re taking two pallets of water to the firefighters, or abut 170 cases,” he said. “We’re taking that up first, because they’re in desperate need.”

He said the casino will accept donations through the weekend.

At Mom & Pops Cafe at Third and Carson streets, the parties scheduled for Friday and Saturday will include a donation jar for cash donations to the American Red Cross, to go to fire victims.

Owners Doug and Jamesa Cramer have their annual Fridays at Third Street party this week and a special party in honor of the Carson High School football team on Saturday. Both parties will be from 7-10 p.m. at 224 S. Carson St.

Also helping out are two radio stations and 1-800-GOT-JUNK? owner Don Bruce, whose truck teams are collecting donated items and transporting them to the Lake Tahoe region.

“We’ve already filled two truck loads and will be making daily trips as long as the donations keep coming in,” Bruce said.

Wells Fargo is offering special programs to affected residential and small-business customers.

Programs and services available for small business customers include: credit protection activation, skip a payment, fee waivers and case-by-case assistance.

Customers with home mortgages, home equity lines of credit or loans, or personal credit management accounts should call about payment options.

Customers should call (800) 869-3557. The line is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Wells Fargo is also donating $60,000 to the Sacramento Sierra Chapter of the American Red Cross and Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care Inc. to aid in the relief effort of this and other natural disasters.

• Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at or 882-2111 ext. 351.