One of the two patios at Lily’s Bistro (CONTRIBUTED)

Difficult decision to open Sunday prompts outpouring of support for Oregon District shooting victims

The owners of Lily’s Bistro in Dayton’s Oregon District, and Warped Wing Brewing Company and the Barrel House beer bar a few blocks away from the district, were torn on Sunday as to whether they should serve customers less than 14 hours after a mass shooting had left 10 dead and 32 injured on East Fifth Street.

All three businesses did, indeed, decide to open, and in the end, they and their customers, along with a bubble-tea truck that collaborated with Lily’s, generated more than $8,000 in combined contributions to the survivors of the shooting. 

>> Gestures of kindness, compassion and love shine through in Dayton’s darkest hour

Lily’s owner Emily Mendenhall decided to host a fried-chicken dinner potluck with a pay-what-you-like donation jar starting at 3 p.m. Sunday. “We raised $633 for a server who was injured in Saturday's shooting and works at our other business, Blind Bob's Bar,” Mendenhall wrote on the restaurant’s Facebook page.

“Our friends from Billie Gold Bubble Tea came over and set up near Lily's after working the morning at a food truck rally. They donated $752.36 toward our employee's donation fund. Combined, that's a total of $1,385.36.”

 >> Oregon District shooting: What we’ve learned about the victims

“We've heard the employee is out of the hospital and expects to return to work in about one week. Thanks to all who came out and all who donated, all who came by to give hugs and drop a few dollars into the donation jar.”

Billie Gold Bubble Tea’s owners wrote on the mobile unit’s Facebook page, “We are sending every bit of love and light we have to our city and her people! We are #daytonstrong and will continue to create safe spaces in our city.”

>> Oregon District Tragedy Fund at Dayton Foundation to help victims, survivors

Warped Wing co-founders Nick Bowman and John Haggerty told this news outlet this morning, Tuesday Aug. 6, that tap room sales reached $5,300 on Sunday, and customers donated another $400, bringing the total donation to $5,700. 

And Sara and Gus Stathes, owners of the Barrel House, posted, “Thanks to everyone who stopped by for a pint, a bottle of wine, or just a bag of Bugles today — we raised $1,077.75 for The Oregon District's Dayton Strong Fund.” 

>> PHOTOS: Candlelight vigil in Dayton after shooting

“We love you, Dayton. Your strength, kindness, and sense of community are a constant source of inspiration,” the Barrel House owners said.

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