Restaurant Industry Rallies for Disaster Victims


What restaurants do best it to bring people together. That’s particularly evident over the past two months, as North America has been ravaged by multiple natural and manmade disasters. From Puerto Rico to San Francisco, chefs and restaurant groups have been bringing people together to raise funds and feed communities.

One of the most notable is Chef José Andres of Washington, D.C., who began his nonprofit World Central Kitchen in the wake of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. He recently cooked for citizens in Texas affected by floods, then transferred his humanitarian operations to Puerto Rico. There, he has been feeding tens of thousands of hungry islanders devastated by Hurricane Maria.

On October 13, World Central Kitchen will hold its fourth annual World Food Day, during which 150 restaurants in the U.S. will donate 10 percent of their proceeds to ongoing recovery operations in Puerto Rico. CRA member Border Grill is one of the many participating operators.

Other industry events to aid victims include:

  • Tacos Libertad, an entirely not-for-profit restaurant in San Diego, donated 100 percent of its profits in September to International Relief Teams and their work to help Texans affected by Hurricane Harvey.
  • Bay Area and San Jose restaurants held a fundraiser for earthquake relief on October 3 to benefit Topos México, a group of first responders aiding victims in Mexico.
  • Atlanta’s Giving Kitchen launched the Hurricane Irma Emergency Assistance Fund to provide grants to Atlanta-area restaurant workers affected by the hurricane.
  • L.A. Chefs Unite held a fundraiser on October 3 to benefit the Global Giving Fund to help victims of the Mexican earthquakes and the Gulf of Mexico hurricanes.
  • Fifty bars, restaurants and food trucks in L.A. will donate proceeds from special menu items to Unidos por Puerto Rico during the week of Oct. 7–Oct. 14.

How can your restaurant help? Cook up your own fundraiser with a certified relief charity or consider donating to the California Restaurant Association Foundation’s Restaurants Care program. It provides grants to restaurant workers in California facing a crisis, such as recent victims of the Las Vegas shooting.