In the shadow of Macy's mammoth flag fluttering at half-staff Tuesday, six children held bright pink-and-orange posters reading, "Don't forget them - Donate."
"I know about the bombing and the disaster and how they're having a hard time," Shannon Kielar, 9, said of Oklahoma City residents. "I want them to feel happy that we got them money."Kielar and her mother, Laurel, saw the explosion's aftermath on television - particularly of rescuers carrying injured children from the rubble - and the images beckoned to their sense of caring.
"I looked at my daughter and she looked at me and we were both crying. From that point, we knew we had to do something," Laurel Kielar said.
Many Utahns and people nationwide have had the same feelings. Some are organizing fund-raisers or simply giving to the American Red Cross. The Provo Red Cross office had received $1,000 in donations through Tuesday, said Karen Campbell, disaster services director.
Campbell said people typically give during natural disasters. But because the bombing of Oklahoma City's federal building last Wednesday was intentional, people seem more inclined to help, she said.
The Kielar family and friends held their signs in the rain outside the State Street grocery store Saturday. They called on local businesses and elementary schools, asking them to contribute. The Kielar family business, RK Cycle Center, gave $100 and challenged others to do the same. Donors are handed purple ribbons.
The Kielars' Tupperware container was stuffed with $1, $5 and even $10 bills Monday and Tuesday. So far, they've collected about $600 for the Red Cross. The group intends to set up under the Macy's flag every afternoon this week.
They weren't alone Tuesday on State Street.
Varsity Scout Troop 6928 went business to business on Orem's main thoroughfare seeking donations. The troop delivered 500 fliers to Bonneville Elementary for schoolchildren to take home to their parents.
Varsity Scout leader Rick Lee, Orem, was watching "Good Morning, America" Monday when he decided the 14- and 15-year-old boys in his troop should get involved. Lee arranged for arm bands, donation buckets and receipts through the Provo Red Cross office. The eight to 10 boys in the troop obtained permission to leave school early Tuesday for the 1 to 5 p.m. service project. Chuck-A-Rama agreed to feed them dinner.
Lee said the fund-raiser would create memories for the Scouts while helping them appreciate their own families.
The Orem projects are two of several on the Wasatch Front.
In Salt Lake City, Red Cross volunteers are collecting money at center court in Trolley Square. Trolley Square will also have an 8-foot-square sympathy card for people to express their sentiments.
The card is part of a nationwide campaign involving 70 malls and shopping centers. The malls will express-mail the cards Thursday for display in Heritage Park Mall in Oklahoma City. The Red Cross will solicit donations until closing Friday.
"This is to demonstrate the national outpouring of sadness felt for the community and hopefully assist in the healing process," said Barbara Brooks, Trolley Square marketing director.
Donors cautioned to beware of scam artists
While individuals and charities are legitimately collecting money for Oklahoma City bombing victims, there are those who would take advantage of the situation, too.
The state Division of Consumer Protection is not aware of any scams in Utah to date, but director Francine Giani said residents should be cautious.
"People just need to be aware that you not only have good people trying to help, but scam artists trying to make money," she said.
Potentials donors should make sure the charity is registered with the state, as are the American Red Cross and Boy Scouts of America. People should also ask what percentage of their money will go directly to victims.
Giani said people should be leery of door-to-door and phone solicitors. If residents are suspicious of a professed charity, they should contact the Consumer Protection Division.