California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

‘Borderline Strong’ T-Shirt Sales Raise $273k For Victims’ Families

Three months after the Nov. 7 Borderline Bar & Grill mass shooting, local volunteers are still raising money for those effected. On Feb. 12, the fundraising efforts of “Borderline Strong” apparel reached $273k and a check for the victims and their families was written to the Rotary Club of Westlake Village.

The idea for the shirts started when a group of Relay for Life volunteers contacted Eastwind Print Shop in Newbury Park and asked for a few shirt prints prior to a candlelight vigil for victims. Rick Bucaria, the owner of Eastwind Screenprint, had a few dozen shirts printed and donated to the families of those effected by the mass shooting. The project took off from there.

Bucaria and Eastwind employee John Short were inspired to help and created a webstore in order to help raise money for the families or Borderline victims. They saw near overnight success, with $10,000 raised on the first day.

“We couldn’t hang up our phones. Everyone wanted to know where they could get those shirts,” Bucaria said. “I open my garage door for the factory and there’s a line of people already waiting to get shirts.”

To meet the demand for the Borderline shirts, Bucaria said he put his other orders on hold. He said volunteers worked full days, even after going to their regular jobs, just to keep up with the influx of orders.

The shirts have been shipped all around the country, including additional in-store sales by local churches and restaurants such as Eggs ‘n’ Things. The “Borderline Strong” movement was also invited to numerous fundraising events at local breweries and the two Borderline Benefit concerts at the Civic Arts Plaza Feb. 10-11.

“Everybody that came in to get shirts would ask, ‘Can we help?’ or ‘How can I help?’ Eastwind printed the shirts, but it was a team effort and a whole community,” Bucaria said. “It was an amazing experience for me. They say our community was in darkness, but everybody that came in and bought a shirt was like lighting a candle.”

Bucaria said since the first day, an estimated 22,000 shirts have been printed and sold.

Stacy Rabke is part of the Relay for Life group that helped start the project. She joined the team on day five of printing and helped with shipping online orders. Rabke now works as a customer service receptionist and said being part of the project “strengthened her hope” in the Thousand Oaks community.

“It was an exciting time as far as seeing the amount of community that came together for everything at Eastwind. The employees here were completely on board with staying late and making sure everything was getting done,” Rabke said. “It’s been a good bonding experience for everyone at the shop and us as volunteers, and especially within the community.”

California Lutheran University students also took part in the movement. The women’s basketball team purchased 1,000 shirts to help fundraising efforts.

Cal Lutheran junior Shannon Martin was at the bar the night of the shooting.

“It was a piece of Borderline that I could take home [to Orange County] with me…” Martin said. “I wear it to recognize that there is a healing process happening and still going on.”

Although funds will continue to go toward families and individuals impacted by the Borderline shooting, Bucaria said he hopes to also begin donating money to rebuild the Borderline Bar & Grill.

Volunteers that helped with the project also included survivors from the Oct. 1, 2017 Route 91 Harvest Festival mass shooting.

According to USA Today, the Route 91 mass shooting killed at least 58 people and injured nearly 500 others at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Clark County Coroner John Fudenberg said the victims ranged in age from 20 to 67 years old, USA Today reports.

Erin Niemi
Reporter

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