Generous contributions are pouring into the South Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association after the organization suffered a rash of burglaries over the past year, losing a myriad of tools and materials in the process.
Committee Chair Janet Benjamin, touched by the tremendous goodwill in recent days, said it’s remarkable that so many, including those serving on the local City Council, are supporting the fund-raising effort.
“It has just been wonderful, and I’m so grateful to those who have helped us in a time of need,” said Benjamin, who is also the decoration chair for the 2017 float, appropriately given the name “Never Give Up!” The float depicts the Aesop’s fable “The Tortoise and the Hare,” with, of course, the tortoise coming across the finish first.
Far from giving up are a core group of about 25 volunteers, including SPTOR committee members, who work on the float year-round, along with dozens of others contributing massive hours this week as the race against the clock is on to finish the float in time for Monday’s Rose Parade.
Since March of this year, losses have mounted to more than $4,000, including everything from sweatshirts to steel. The biggest heist came in October when a video recorder, set up at the worksite behind the War Memorial Building in the 400 block of Fair Oaks Avenue, captured an image of a man driving off with a steel tool chest, two chop saws and three large bolt cutters.
South Pasadena Police Department officials say the thefts are a combination of an increase in homeless and “early release programs from jail,” wrote Paul Abbey, the 2016 SPTOR construction chair on the float, in a letter to the community inserted into last week’s issue of the South Pasadena Review. “They may be non-violent (crimes), but they are not above stealing from any convenient site.”
Since word spread that the float needed a financial assist, Benjamin said many have opened their wallets to the tune of more than $8,000, the major thrust coming from all five members of the South Pasadena City Council, each one donating $1,000 from their discretionary funds.
Funds are also being sought through the fund-raising effort to help pay for steel, wood, flowers, paint and glue to construct the floral masterpiece that will soon roll down Colorado Boulevard.
The City of South Pasadena has been part of the Rose Parade since 1893 and is the oldest self-built float in the parade. “We’d love it if you can help us monetarily or lend a hand at the float site as we work on the float in the final hours,” said Benjamin. “It’s crunch time and we could use the help. Much more is still needed.”
To make a contribution to the city’s entry, please send a tax-deductible check to SPTOR, P.O. Box 3662, South Pasadena, CA, 91031.