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Coffee shack fundraiser draws long lines, big returns


by: NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: JOHN SCHRAG - Sugar Shack owner Tami Doner found out that if you brew it,they will come, particularly when you donate all the proceeds to a family in need.When Tami Doner decided to donate a day’s worth of sales to the Dieter-Robinson family, she was hoping to raise at least $320.

That would have matched her best daily take in seven years of running the Sugar Shack coffee kiosk at 19th Avenue and Main Street in Forest Grove. But the final total wasn’t even close.

It was 17 times higher.

Doner raised nearly $5,500 Thursday, Oct. 24, counting about $600 donated before and after by folks who couldn’t make it to the stand that day.

“That’s a lot of coffee,” said one customer, after hearing the total.

“That’s a lot of good-hearted people,” answered Doner, who deposited the money into the Dieter-Robinson fund at Columbia Community Bank, which was established after sisters Anna Dieter-Eckerdt and Abigal Robinson were killed by a motorist just up the street on Oct. 20.

Beginning around 7 a.m. and continuing to the kiosk’s closing time of 2 p.m. last Thursday, the crowd consumed Doner’s inventory like locusts. She ran out of certain cup sizes and cup lids. The white chocolate frappe mix disappeared, as did all her muffins and homemade scones. The blender started to overheat and make strange noises so they had to stop using it. Even her water tank ran dry.

“At the end of the day, people were still coming in droves,” Doner said. But by that time she had to turn them away.

“I felt so bad,” Doner said. “Everyone just wanted to give, give, give, and I wanted to make them coffee, but there was no water in the tank.”

Donors arrived mostly by car, Doner said.

“We had little children coming in here with big bags of money from their piggy banks, with tears in their eyes. It was so touching. I’m getting chills just thinking about it,” she said.

There was also “the police brigade,” said Doner, referring to six or seven squad cars that filed in from the east entrance to join the line.

Some people handed over far more than the price of a latte.

“My very first customer handed me $100,” Doner recalled. “I said ‘This day is going to be a good day.’”