January 17, 2010

A fundraising meal for Haiti

This post also appears on my other blog, fishes+loaves.

This week, LaV and I tried to think of what we could do to help raise money for organizations participating in the disaster relief and rebuilding efforts. The outpouring of support from all over the world has been encouraging to witness, but the need is so significant.

According to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, the Haitian emergency is the "most serious humanitarian crisis faced by the United Nations" in decades, surpassing those caused by the Asian tsunami, the recent Pakistan earthquake and cyclone Nargis in Burma. In the words of Stephanie Bunker of the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:
"[T]he civil service, police, emergency services, all the organisations which would normally have key roles in responding to a major disaster were affected.... Haiti is very poor. It just does not have the resources or the money to respond to an emergency. What capacity it did have to respond was completely knocked out. This earthquake hit a country which was already barely functional."
After speaking with a few friends, we quickly threw together a fundraising dinner Saturday night. The idea behind the meal was simple. We would serve a four course meal to a small group of six people in exchange for a $50 contribution per person to One Day's Wages, a local Seattle nonprofit (I serve on the Advisory Board) raising funds for two organizations: World Concern and Partners in Health, organizations doing relief and rebuilding work in Haiti.

World Concern has worked in Haiti since 1978 and serves roughly 125,000 Haitians annually. Their office in Port Au Prince is still standing and they are engaged in emergency relief work right now.

Partners in Health has been working on the ground in Haiti for over 20 years. Their mission is to bring modern medical care to poor communities in nine countries around the world, including Haiti.

We figured that with six participants (plus corporate charitable gift matching), we'd be able to raise $600... a small amount in the grand scheme of things, but every well placed contribution counts.

Here was the evening's menu:

kir royal

tender pork belly salad
coffee-cured pork belly, apple, fennel, nuac cham

2001 ockfen bockstein riesling, von othegraven

seared scallop
carrot nage, fried shallot

traditional paella
chorizo, shrimp, mussel, clam, squid

2002 pierre bouree fils, beaune, "les epenottes" 1er cru

chocolate bread pudding
ice cream, fresh walnuts

And a few of the pictures:

Planning and preparing the meal was a blast. But the best part of the evening was seeing this group of friends come together to generously donate to One Day's Wage's fundraising efforts.

Later that evening, after we'd said our goodbyes and cleaned up, I looked at the contributions and realized that these folks had given above and beyond what we had requested. We were able to raise a total of $1,100 (corporate matching included) between just these six people, almost double our goal!

A HUGE thanks goes out to our generous diners: Megan, Carla, David, Lena, Brie and Aaron. You guys rock.

Our hearts continue to think of and pray for those who are suffering in Haiti. If you are looking for a way to contribute funds to recovery, relief and rebuilding efforts in Haiti, please consider the One Day's Wages Haiti Relief and Rebuild Fund, or any of a number of reputable nonprofits assisting in Haiti.

We'll be looking for more opportunities to host additional fundraising meals in the near future.


  1. omg, jack! you're killin me with these pics! AND the menu...i can't even pronounce 3/4 of it! all i know is that i need to be better friends with you guys and your food! lol

    what a great idea to raise money.... LUV it!

  2. What a wonderful -- and delcious -- thing to do. The meal looks fab, and the fact that you were able to raise a whopping $1,000 is truly commendable.

  3. gail: you crack me up! one of these days, we'll need to have you guys over.

    carolyn: thanks! we were floored by the generosity of our diners as well... really encouraging to see people extend themselves for the sake of others.

  4. Excellent post and writing style. Bookmarked.