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January 28, 2010 at 11:19 AM

Raising dough for Haiti: generosity comes in small slices

There’s a reason they call it the service industry. Area restaurants — large and small — have reached out to Haiti, offering financial aid (with your help), as mentioned in previous posts. From pho stops to bakeshops, neighborhood bars to neighborhood bistros, its heartening to see the local aid effort take off and deliver.

For those who feel Haiti would be better served if we all just sent a check directly to a charitable organization — rather than help fund these fund-raising efforts by dining out — I say, consider this: It’s all about community, and if there’s a more generous community than the local food community, I’ve yet to meet it. Need proof? How about this good news:

Family-run Bob’s Bakery on Vashon Island raised $12,000 on two successive Sunday drives, says co-owner Jill Beytebiere, who, along with her baker (and husband) Paul, graciously accepted a $4000 matched donation from a regular customer who wishes to remain anonymous. That $12,000 will go to four child-centered Haitian organizations. “Our children have been to Haiti,” and seen the orphanages there, says Jill. “So we know first hand what they do.” For more on the Beytebiere’s ongoing efforts, here and in Haiti, watch this video:

Last Thursday, tiny Pho Saigon on First Hill hosted a drive, and with take-out calls coming in beginning at 9 a.m. and sit-down customers lining up around the block by lunchtime, owners My and Thanh Le were able to contribute their day’s proceeds: $3200. After hearing about their generosity, Seattle emergency doctor Kathleen Jobe showed up the next day to thank them in person, before heading to Haiti with their check, which will be used to help the Seattle/King County Disaster Team with their medical efforts on the ground in Haiti.

At Campagne, a three-course benefit dinner raised a whopping $15,700, including a $5000 match by Inn at the Market. “By processing direct donations,” to Doctors Without Borders, “we were able to avoid all credit card transaction fees and a myriad of taxes, allowing us to donate 100 percent of the funds we collected,” says GM Gordon Kushnik.

Coastal Kitchen brought in $2100 after donating a percentage of a days sales to Northwest-based Mercy Corps. Mercy Corps representative Steve Nantz was on hand from 11 a.m. through dinner, accepting direct donations from generous patrons, according to the Capitol Hill restaurant’s owner Jeremy Hardy.

Meanwhile, Grand Central Bakery continues their ongoing fund drive through Sunday, January 31 at locations in Pioneer Square, on Eastlake and in Portland, where they’re accepting donations to Mercy Corps. The company expects to raise $10,000, including a $5000 corporate donation.

And today Pagliacci Pizza — with help from local vendors like Rosella’s Fruit & Produce and hungry locals hankering for a pizza — will donate all proceeds to the Red Cross Haiti Relief Fund. If that’s not reason enough to call for delivery or pay a visit to one of Pagliacci’s 21 area locations, co-owner Matt Galvin says the company will match contributions from their generous employees as well. By day’s end, says Galvin, “I would be surprised if we’re not able to generate north of $10,000.”

Help for Haiti? They deliver.

UPDATE: 1/28/10 noonish:

Pomegranate Bistro raised over $2500 during a Dine and Donate dinner. The funds went to Medical Teams International, which has 33 doctors now working in Haiti.

Boom Noodle raised $1,375 in a day during a special event, with proceeds going to the Red Cross.

Portage Restaurant, on Queen Anne raised $2,360, split between Mercy Corps and the Haitian group Gheskio.

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