Friday, May 7, 2010

Food Community Rows Forward Together

Posted By on Fri, May 7, 2010 at 2:21 PM

Chefs, servers, diners and vendors are exhibiting some pretty amazing generosity out there as Nashville begins to assess the damage from the May Day flooding and starts to make plans for the recovery efforts. Diners and restaurants are rallying around May 17th's "Eat Out for Nashville" fund raiser with almost 500 FaceBook and Twitter followers and Amerigo-West End, Amerigo-Cool Springs, Baja Burrito, Burger Up and Lazzaroli's already on board as participants. Hopefully many more restaurants will sign up at eatoutfornashville@gmail.com to join in the fun and donate 50% of their 5/17 proceeds to the Tennessee Emergency Response Fund of the CFMT.

But that's not the only way to help out as many other establishments are finding their own ways to assist evacuees and volunteers. Jim Ridley told you this morning about Randy Rayburn's efforts, and the super-sharp young ladies who run Nashvillest.com have a great rundown on the first responders in the food service industry and what they're doing to improve quality of life in the first few days after the flood.

The national media has finally begun to take note as CNN.com has a special feature on how chefs are switching from businessmen to volunteer coordinators as they strive to feed the people who need the help the most. The article features Tandy Wilson and his decision to close down City House even though he was unaffected by the flood. Instead of opening on Monday, Tandy and his staff made a heaping helping of comfort food and delivered it to the Red Cross shelter at David Lipscomb. Now chef Tandy is working to organize fund raisers to help out the Nashville Farmers' Market.

This extended cleanup is going to take a long time, and there's plenty of room under the tent for many volunteer and fundraising ideas. If you hear of more that are going on or that need publicity, let us know here at Bites and we'll get the word out.

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