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Occupy Iowa City sustained by donations

BY CHASTITY DILLARD | OCTOBER 21, 2011 7:20 AM

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Occupy Iowa City protesters at College Green Park have seen a steady flow of support from local businesses and individuals since the beginning of the movement two weeks ago.

Victoria Watson, a member of Occupy Iowa City's finance committee, said the group has received a lot of monetary donations from throughout the community. But the group has received other donations as well.

"It's not so much about the dollar amount," she said. "We receive so much support in other [areas]."

Protesters have received donations such as tents, toys, food, clothes, technology, and basic necessities, Watson said.

The 26-year-old wouldn't say how much money the group has received until after Thursday night's general-assembly discussion.

The movement began Oct. 7, prompted by the anti-corporatist demonstrations on Wall Street in New York City.

Hamburg Inn No. 2, 214 S. Linn St., is one local business that has supported the movement. The business has donated $100 worth of food and coffee since the protests began in Iowa City, said kitchen manager Corey Hitchcock.

"As the Hamburg has always been a central place for political voices to be heard of all sides, we are proud to support this sort of voice, as well," Hitchcock said, on behalf of kitchen manager Jay Schworn.

The restaurant has several employees who are directly involved with the cause, he said.

"We readily don't take sides as a business for any one political voice, but we support the freedom to exercise our rights," Hitchcock said.

Protester Ant Hyde said the bulk of donations come from the "kindness and generosity of strangers."

"I don't ever pay attention to [where the donations come from], because if they donate, that means they care," the 25-year-old said.

Protester Lisa Bonar, 44, said the community support has been bountiful.

"The first morning we actually had so much coffee that we couldn't drink it all," she said.

Bonar also said people are stopping and giving cash donations that can be used to prepare for winter.

The New Pioneer Food Co-op, 22 S. Van Buren St., is another business making contributions.

Jenifer Angerer, the store marketing manager, said the business gave its uphill neighbors a $50 gift card for food.

"It's a grassroots organization, and they're part of the neighborhood," she said.

Demonstrator David Ellinger, said he isn't surprised by the support from the Iowa City community.

"It's support. At least our community is behind us, which is awesome," the 37-year-old said. "And really, we're representing just about everybody."


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