Culver's holds packed fundraiser for Waukesha dance team; 5 dancers in critical condition in ICU

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WAUKESHA, Wis. (CBS 58) -- There was an overwhelming show of support Wednesday, Nov. 24, at Culver's locations in Waukesha for the families affected by the Waukesha Christmas parade tragedy. All three restaurants are donating a percent of their profits Wednesday to help.

At lunchtime, the restaurant on Grandview Boulevard was shoulder-to-shoulder. Owner Kyle Soderstrom said it will likely be the busiest day this Culver's location will ever have.

"This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to help people, unfortunately," he said.

He's partnered with the Waukesha Xtreme Dance Team for years.

"I've been friends with these guys for a decade. We've had this relationship, and there's no way I'm turning my back on them," he said.

Soderstrom decided to donate 50 percent of sales all day Wednesday to the dance team. The team's owner, Sandy Feller, said it's "overwhelming."

"The families and the kids needed this," Feller said. "I think today is a big start of their healing process."

Between 12 and 15 children were injured during the tragedy at Sunday's Christmas parade. Five children are still in the ICU in critical condition. One dance family had four children in the parade and all four were hit.

"You hear people say, 'it's never gonna happen here. It's never gonna happen in this neighborhood. Our children will always be safe'...and then what (the driver) did to these families," Feller said.

The Waukesha West Dance Team and Stars Dance Academy pitched in and went and made Build-a-Bears for all of the dancers.

Feller said the young dancers will need counseling. They're holding off from practice until they're ready.

"They don't want to do a parade ever again, and their parents and I understand," she said.

But between their burgers and fries at Culver's, these families found comfort and healing.

"The teams have been able to come in here, be together, see each other, cry together, laugh together kind of thing," Soderstrom said. "We're just trying to be an avenue that they can do that."

The other two Culver's locations in Waukesha are each donating half of their sales from Wednesday directly to the United for Waukesha Community Fund.

You can donate to the dance team's GoFundMe here.

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