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Gaps Remain in 'Hands Across America' Chain

May 22, 1986|VICTOR VALLE | Times Staff Writer

With three days left before the Hands Across America line is scheduled to snake across the continent, organizers say they have signed up 78% of the hand-holders needed for the California route, but that gaps remain.

At a Wednesday press conference, they also provided instructions for those still wishing to join the Sunday event, and conceded there may be some confusion for last-minute sign-ups.

Citing the dangers posed by the blazing desert sun, organizers of the event to raise funds for the hungry and homeless announced the second officially sanctioned gap along the route--100 miles of the California desert from Indio to Blythe.

As envisioned by creator Ken Kragen, the chain was to have stretched 4,125 continuous miles, from New York to Long Beach, in hopes of raising as much as $50 million.

Since fewer people will be needed in the desert, estimates for filling the California line have been reduced from 400,000 to 317,150. California director Roger Carrick said that as of Wednesday 243,979 people had signed up.

Still, volunteers are needed for partially filled segments, which include Market and Magnolia streets in Riverside; 10 miles of Whittier Boulevard in East Los Angeles; Martin Luther King Boulevard between Crenshaw Boulevard and Vermont Avenue; Vermont Avenue from Wilshire Boulevard to Sunset Boulevard; a Marina del Rey bike path; and Pacific Coast Highway in Lomita and Wilmington.

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