My father is a lifetime journalist. One of his assignments took him to Haiti, some 15 years ago. Coming from and raised in Cuba until he was 28, what he expected to see wasn’t going to be a surprise. It was just another 3rd world island nation, laden with government corruption and poverty.
But his recounts upon his return were disturbing. I was in my teens and was blown away at what he told. The images he shared were unbelievable. He left Haiti realizing that Cuba almost paled in comparison.
That was 15 years ago, and seemingly, things have gotten worse. Not just because of the earthquake that hit 3 weeks ago; rather because of the continued political turmoil and corruption. The earthquake simply adds insult to injury and begs a lot of spiritual questions I won’t address in this medium.
Like most of you, I’ve personally been touched by the devastation the Haitians have endured. I watched images and shed tears of how something so catastrophic could happen to a people already on destitute soil. As soon as text offers to donate $5 to Yéle were open, I grabbed my crackberry.
But, it couldn’t stop there for me. I come from a neighboring island and know all too well the stories of hunger and not having enough this or that. So, as a personal chef and someone that lives because of food, I understand the vital role it plays in our existence. Food is essential. Food is nurturing and spirit-lifting. It’s a common denominator that brings people together.
To that end, perhaps you’ve seen the Facebook page, Twitter hashtag #stirit28 or just received an email. There’s a movement coming together, and I hope it will include you–a foodie or someone in the food community. No matter how you define foodie, we’re going to say it’s anyone who loves and appreciates the value, nutrition, sustenance, comfort and necessity of food. We understand and recognize the utter importance of food as it relates to our personal lives. As food bloggers, we are lucky to eat well, whether we do it lavishly or on a budget. Regardless, we are lucky. Following that January 12th earthquake in Haiti, the world was silenced by the devastation brought upon an already impoverished country. The recovery process has been slow and difficult, considering the circumstances. People are trying to piece their lives together, but it will take months on the short-term scale, years ,on the long-term.
Together with Chrystal of The Duo Dishes and Courtney of Coco Cooks, we have formed STIR IT 28: Food Bloggers Align for Haiti Relief–a blogger based fundraising effort to bring money to Haiti. As a culinary community, we all have one thing in common: Food. And right now, food is a vital necessity that Haitians are lacking. Not to mention basic resources such as cooking equipment, clothes, water, shelter, etc… These are all things we enjoy every day. Through our campaign, we are passionately striving to raise money to bring food, water and other necessary supplies to the island, which will hopefully do a small part to aid in the short-term relief efforts. We’re calling on all food bloggers to help us make this a nationwide, international movement during the month of February. From February 1st through the 28th, we will align as a unified group, along with the food community-at-large, to help bring relief to the island nation.
Here’s how you can help:
STIR IT 28 CULINARY BENEFIT
Each one of us will be hosting an evening of culinary deliciousness on Sunday, February 21st in our respective cities– Atlanta, Chicago and Los Angeles. We’re working on DC, too–my hometown. (new city update below!) We’re asking 28 chefs, restaurants, home cooks and food bloggers to participate by donating 2-3 dishes that will feed 15-20 people each. The events will be open to the public with advanced tickets and limited ticket sales at the door. Purchase tickets to attend the event by clicking the logo above or on the top right column of the home page. We’re still formulating our respective events, but here are the details so far:
- Where: SPACE Atlanta, 1310 White St. Atlanta, GA 30310
- When: 4-7 PM
- $30 in advance
- $40 at the door
*Complimentary wine courtesy of Montaluce Winery! (visit their amazing site!)
* 2 cash bars
- Where: Three Peas Art Lounge, 75 E. 16th Street (Between Michigan and Wabash), Chicago, IL 60616
- When: 3-6 pm
- $30 in advance
- $35 at the door
- Where: Private Residence, 6602 Cahuenga Terrace, Los Angeles, CA, 90068
- When: 4-7 pm
- $30 in advance
- $35 at the door
Update: 2/5/10: We’re excited to announce that NYC has just signed up! Please read below
NEW YORK CITY
- Where: NYU Department of Nutrition, Food Studies and Public Health, 35 W. 4th Street, 10th floor, NY, NY, 10012
- When: 4-7 pm
- Advanced ticket sales only!
- $20 for students: must pay via the PayPal “General Online Donation” button on the top right of my homepage and indicate “NYU student ticket” in notes. Must show student ID at the door.
- $30 for adults/faculty & staff
* Details TBD. If you are in DC, and are interested, please email Stirit28 AT gmail DOT com, with the subject: STIR IT DC
This is how food bloggers ALIGN!
bren at flanboyanteats dot com
cococooks at hotmail dot com
christy.spackman at gmail dot com
28 DAYS OF DONATIONS
If you are not in Atlanta, Chicago, LA or NYC, you can still help raise money! We have designated the entire month February as one of solidarity and fund-raising. As of Feb. 1 and through Feb. 28th, you can donate in any increment amount. We’d like a minimum of $5.00. Maybe donate what you would normally spend to create a dish for a post or give the amount you’d spend on a lunch or dinner out with friends. It’s not about how much you give, but the spirit in which you decided to help others and be seflless. We understand that economic times are hard, but even $1 from each of 500 or more bloggers WILL make a difference. Spread the word to your friends, tell your families. Talk to restaurants in your area, chat with cooking schools, visit bakeries! The idea is to bring the food community together as a whole, so anyone who lives and loves food should get the message!
You can donate directly through PayPal. Just click on the PayPal button on the home page of this blog! It will take you directly to the “General Donation” page. For now, the associated email address for the donation is firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll have a Paypal button done in just a a bit, that will be as easy as a click to the donation page (much like what you see on Yele.org’s site). Your statement will have an entry from Bren Herrera Entertainment, Inc. 100% of raised monies from these donations will also go to Share Our Strength and Yéle.
ONE COMMENT. ONE EATS.
As most of you know, I launched a hunger campaign last Summer called Hunger Lives No More: One Comment. One Eats. For each comment left on my 1st post of each month, I’ve been donating to a local food bank. The three of us decided this would be a great opportunity to combine this effort with our Haiti relief project. For every comment you receive on your first [or any designated] post of February, we hope you donate one non-perishable food item to Share Our Strength. You can campaign for the full month of February in order to get as many comments as possible. We will let you know how to get your food to Share Our Strength. Email me directly at to get your badge that reads: “I gave to One Comment. One Eats.”
UPDATE 2/5/10: The badge is ready!! Here they are and take your pick! Feel free to right click, save and make what ever size you like that will be appropriate for your blog! Please link back to http://tinyurl.com/yfvvzd4. Thanks!
SPREAD THE WORD
We can only make this work if everyone comes together. The cool thing about food bloggers is that we are a supportive bunch. Most of us have never met, but we forge virtual relationships with people in our own cities and across the world, over food. If we combined that same strength and enthusiasm and applied it to a GREAT cause, imagine how powerful it would be! Sign up as a cook/volunteer for the Atlanta, Chicago, LA or NYC events, join the Facebook page, use the Twitter hashtag #stirit28, get the word out to your friends, solicit donations. We can make a huge difference! And for anyone in any city who is interested in starting their own fundraiser event, please email email@example.com to let us know. You do not have to have a huge blow-out like the original cities. An intimate dinner of 10 or 15 on Sunday, February 21st will still make a difference! The point is to mobilize and raise money for Haiti!
We hope you’ll join in the STIR IT 28 movement. We’re excited to get started, and we want you on the team!
Oh, if you’ve made it all the way to the end of this post, thank you, really! I know it’s long!
PS: thanks to my awesome photographer and graphic designer, Dave Patterson of RH Media Group for creating the STIR IT logo and Tajhmar Thompson of T-3 True Graphics for the “One Comment. One Eats.” badge!
Eat well, love unapologetically, pray with true intention, and take care of yourself.