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Agave Kitchen owner Paul Rode raises money for the Schaffhausen family in the River City Center parking lot on Wednesday.

UPDATE: Rode raises more than $30,000 for bereaved River Falls mother

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UPDATE: Rode raises more than $30,000 for bereaved River Falls mother
River Falls Wisconsin 2815 Prairie Drive / P.O. Box 25 54022

Agave Kitchen owner Paul Rode raised $30,302 for the River Falls mother whose three children were found dead in their home on Tuesday, according to a post on his Facebook page.

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After seeing news reports about the deaths, Rode announced on Facebook that he would be in a downtown Hudson parking lot on Tuesday taking donations to help Jessica Schaffhausen pay the funeral expenses for her daughters, ages 11, 8 and 5.

The girls' father, Aaron Schaffhausen, 34, of Minot, N.D., is accused of murdering the girls. Police found the girls dead inside the home at 2790 Morningside Ave. in River Falls after receiving a call from Jessica Schaffhausen, who said she was concerned about their safety.

The Schaffhausens were divorced in January.

Rode said he felt he needed to do something in response to the awful event.

"People need to heal and I know it's just money, but it's helping people heal," he said.

From about 10 a.m. to into the early evening Wednesday, people came to the River City Center parking lot on Second Street to give Rode checks and cash.

He asked for the checks to be written to Jessica Schaffhausen. A Hudson police officer was there to handle the cash, which was deposited in a bank the next morning.

Rode was assisted in the effort by Melissa Ingram of Hudson, Israel Neumann of River Falls and Mary Kadela of New Richmond.

The Hudson Jimmy John's shop provided sandwiches to give to the people making a donation.

"A lot of good was done yesterday," Rode said Thursday in a post on his Facebook page. "Many people are now in the healing stage and are fighting to get out of the why stage. I pray that the man who did this lives a long, long life and may his name be forgotten by all."

Numerous people wrote on Rode's Facebook wall, praising him for taking action.

"Paul Rode took the initiative and got the community going and raised over 30k today," one man said. "He did it cause (sic) he felt it in his heart. Without him the community may not have gotten together to do this. I know he did not do this for thanks, but I would like to ask the community to support a leader like Paul."

"Whatever it takes to help," said Rode.

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