Later that night, about 500 people danced to Indian American disc jockey Birkam Keith's music at Vida lounge on 20th Street.
The event, which raised about $9,000, was organized by the local Network of South Asian Professionals in a frantic exchange of e-mails last week. The $10 cover charge, and other contributions, were for Awakening Hope, a small local charity that aims to rebuild a youth center in Sri Lanka that was destroyed.
John Rosa of Darnestown, who runs a nonprofit organization with an orphanage in Italy, greets Kanya Sanders and son Sanjeevan, 10 months, at the Grace United Methodist Church fundraiser.
(Photos Ricky Carioti -- The Washington Post)
"Whatever you can contribute, it makes a difference," said Sushil Milak, 28, of Laurel, who sat in the throbbing club.
An auction fundraiser at the Virginia Run Community Center in Centreville attracted dozens of people who snacked on brownies and placed checks and cash into a cardboard box.
Diyana Sanders, a guidance counselor at Fields Road Elementary School in Gaithersburg, agreed that every bit helps.
One fifth-grade student brought a sack of pennies to her office. Others stood outside the school with buckets, asking parents for "Dollars for Dayalan."
"You'd like to think good things come out of bad," said Principal Kathy Rupp, who worked a collection table at the church.
"There will be more orphans because of the tsunami, but there will be some money to help them."
Staff writer Jay Mathews contributed to this report.