Local Eatery Hosts Fundraiser for Families of Teens Killed in Crash

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BRUNSWICK, Ohio  -- It was a busy lunch-hour rush Monday at Panini's in Brunswick.

"We are giving away complimentary food in lieu of donations for the families. And the money that is donated today, 100% of it will go to the families," said Wendy Kovarik, manager.

The money raised will go to the families of Lexi Poerner, Jeff Chaya, Blake Bartchak and Kevin Fox, forever changed after a crash on Boston Road last weekend just hours before graduation.

"Everyone has gotten a lot closer. I feel like it's a lesson learned. Kids teaching kids to be safer on the roads and everything," said Jessica Potoczak, senior.

It is also a lesson in compassion and caring, as a blue and white community gathered to support the families.

"It's amazing. Not only for the Brunswick community, but the communities around us.  There have been so many volunteers, people asking what can we do?" said Tracy Donofrio, of Brunswick.

"A lot of folks here are donating their time, donating their tips. A lot of guys in the kitchen are donating their time as well," added Sam Barnes, of Brunswick.

Across the street at the high school, a blue and white tent was set up for boxed lunches and donations.

Music played from the speakers, a playlist of each victim's favorite songs.

"It's nice, listening to the bands they liked. And just being together, just listening and remembering them," said Brianna Deskins, sophomore.

Though the families are still in pain and the community is still in disbelief, helping them financially and emotionally will help Brunswick heal.

"It makes you feel good knowing that you come from a city where everyone backs you up and comes together in times like this," said Callahan Gore, senior.

The fundraiser continues until midnight Monday.

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