by Linda Ray
When 36-year-old Tina Rieger was struck and killed while crossing Broadway in a crosswalk at 8:15 a.m., Dec. 6, six children were left without a mother. It’s an immeasurable tragedy in any case, but it seems especially cruel in the midst of this festive season.
The kids have gone to live with their grandparents in Marana, but a local program arranges private transportation for them so at least one important aspect of their lives remains constant: They are still able to attend Ochoa Community Magnet School.
The school arranged with Wells Fargo Bank to set up a fund to help the grandparents support the children, who range in age from 4 to 13. Donations can be made at any Wells Fargo Branch to the “Tina Rieger Donation Account,” number 2808579466. Arrangements have been made to move the children’s furniture, and all their bedding requirements are met. Ochoa principal Heidi Aranda also is hoping for gift cards to Safeway, Fry’s and Walmart, all of which are nearby the grandparents, and she suggests “things that might help kids cope with something like this — beautiful books, maybe a beautiful journal and something beautiful to write with.” Anyone who would like to donate gifts and gift cards may take them to the school from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday and Friday, Dec. 15 and 16; and Monday, Dec. 19. The address is 101 W. 25th Street, Tucson, AZ 85713; phone 225-2400.
Aranda already is concerned about what happens after the community arises to the initial shock, and the especially heart-tugging time to lose a mom right before Christmas, so she’s trying to think of things people can give right now that can be useful for the kids’ future. “I’m trying to think creatively outside the box at this point,” Aranda says. “What are they going to need three months from now? Maybe gift cards to Super Cuts. Six haircuts is a lot. Or maybe Payless for new shoes, things those grandparents can’t anticipate right now.”
We’re thinking Range readers might be really helpful in thinking, and donating, creatively outside the box.