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Show set for Saturday to benefit tornado victims

Those families affected may also attend children's Christmas party

COAL CITY – Help for tornado victims will continue this weekend with two events in Coal City.

Illinois State Police Sgt. Claire Pfotenhauer has organized a children’s Christmas party for those affected by the tornado, and Carbon Hill resident Todd Cumming has organized a benefit show to raise money for tornado victims.

Pfotenhauer asks that families pre-register for Saturday’s event by emailing their name and the ages of their children to The event will be at the Coal City Methodist Church from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. and is only open to those families affected by the tornado.

“We will have lunch, games and Santa will be handing out gifts,” Pfotenhauer said.

The Christmas party will be sponsored by Wal-Mart and the Hispanic Illinois State Law Enforcement Association. Pfotenhauer said gifts will be provided for children of all ages.

Also on Saturday, four local bands will perform at the Diamond/Coal City Tornado Relief Benefit at the Diamond Banquet Hall from 6 p.m. until midnight. Tickets for the event are $20 and all proceeds will go to help local families affected by the tornado.

Cumming said he has been planning the event since the tornado hit the area last month.

“As soon as it happened, the wheels started turning,” Cumming said. “I felt like I had to do something.”

Cumming and friends have secured donations from several businesses – both local and national – and will raffle off the items throughout night. Money, gift baskets, food and much have been donated for the raffles.

Diamond/Coal City Stay Strong T-shirts also will be for sale from 6 to 8 p.m.

The band lineup includes Wicked Vic, Hott Toddies, Light’n Up and 4 Cryin’ Out Loud.

“People can be assured that all of the money from this event will stay local,” Cumming said.

Geo’s Pizza will be available for $2 a slice and bar owner Donna Brainard will have barbecue and hot dogs for sale.

The event is only open to those age 21 and older, because alcohol will be served. Clayton’s Tap of Morris has donated a bus and will provide rides home to those who need them from 10 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.

Cumming said he hopes 500 or more people can attend Saturday’s bash.

Currently, more than 200 people have responded to the invitation.

“It’s been really great – the outpouring of support from the community,” Cumming said. “People talk about how nice it is to be in a small town. This is one of those times.”

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