BROOKLINE (KDKA) – More than 1,000 people showed up with huge hearts at the United Presbyterian Church in Brookline Friday night for the “Pasta by Police with Love” fundraiser.

It’s a small gesture to try and ease the pain of Mark Cleland and his family after his 7-year-old daughter Lexa was killed and his wife injured by a drunk driver on the South Side on Dec. 4, 2010.

“What I think hurts the officers the most is that a 7-year-old girl died for no reason,” Officer Christine Luffey said. “And by the turnout tonight, it’s very evident and very clear to me that the people of Pittsburgh have opened their hearts and that this tragic event has touched them.”

The purchase of pasta dinners, donated from the Olive Garden, rolls from the Breadworks and deserts, will help the Cleland family’s mounting medical bills and go towards a new home that’s handicap accessible for his wife Nicole who doctors say will walk again but with limitation.

The overwhelming show of support will forever change the Cleland family.

“When it hits you in the heart and you feel it there it’s more than just touching it’s life changing,” Mark Cleland said. “It’s reaffirming of humanity. And because they’re helping us, we’re making it. And we’re making it financially, but we’re also making it mentally.”

If you would like to help the Cleland family, the Pittsburgh Police have a fund that you can make a donation to until March 15th. Checks must be payable to Nicole Cleland.

You can mail your donation to:
Nicole Cleland
c/o Pittsburgh Police Station Zone 3
830 East Warrington Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15210-1560
(412) 488-8326

Meanwhile, 23-year-old Travis Isiminger, of Greene County, is facing third-degree murder.

Watch & Listen LIVE