East County business recovery fund tops six figures with ‘everybody pitching in to help’

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LA MESA, Calif. — A recovery fund intended to help East County businesses repair damages from a Saturday riot in La Mesa has drawn more than $160,000 in donations.

The community continues to pull together this week after last weekend’s protests turned violent, leaving dozens of businesses looted and vandalized. Rick Wilson, president of the East County Chamber of Commerce said within hours of the riots ending, the chamber’s foundation set up a GoFundMe account to help businesses rebuild.

As of Thursday, the fund already has far surpassed its initial goal of $50,000, drawing in individual contributions from nearly 2,000 people. Community members also have pitched in this week to help businesses clean up, make repairs and add new artwork.

“(Businesses) were coming out of COVID-19 which was already hard enough and then to have this happen,” Wilson said. “The GoFundMe account is a perfect example of everybody pitching in to help our local businesses here in town and that’s just an awesome thing in San Diego.”

Community business owners say they’re still in shock from the violence.

Now, they’re trying to find out what their insurance will cover — and what they’re hearing so far has been unexpected.

“I have a high deductible on the windows — waiting to hear back,” Amethyst Moon owner Theresa Favro said. “They said if it’s deemed riots, there’s a lot of restrictions on the insurance.”

Wilson said the East County Chamber of Commerce Foundation still is gathering information from businesses. Next week, they’ll set criteria for applications, Wilson said.

“The last week in June is what we hope to just start getting carpal tunnel (syndrome) by just writing checks and getting that money into people’s hands,” he said.

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