GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — More than a dozen restaurants in the Grand Rapids area are raising money to help the victims of the fires in Maui.
West Michigan-based Restaurant Partners Management, LLC will donate 100% of Tuesday’s profits from several restaurants in and around Grand Rapids to help relief efforts.
“You can’t fathom it and then you watch the destruction and … I think it touched all of our hearts,” said Pat Hilton, the chief operating officer for the company, which owns 15 restaurants in West Michigan and six in Traverse City.
The owner of the company Jeff Lobdell wanted to help with a benefit at all locations.
“We live in a great community in West Michigan that we believe will rally around supporting that tragedy, the people that are affected by that tragedy, so we’re inviting everybody to come to our restaurants,” Hilton said.
In addition to burning homes, the fires have destroyed many restaurants on the island, leaving workers without an income and people without a place to gather.
“It really speaks to what restaurants are. They’re community gathering places and we understand that a lot of community gathering places have been destroyed there,” Hilton said.
For those not able to attend on Tuesday, the restaurants have been collecting donations that will to go the Hawaii Restaurant Association Relief Fund and the American Red Cross Hawaii Wildfire Disaster Relief fund.
The restaurants do not know how much they will raise but are confident West Michigan will show its support.
“We know that they’re going to come visit our restaurants and we’re excited to take care of them and we’re also excited that the profits from that day are going to go to such a wonderful cause,” Hilton said.
The company listed the following participating Grand Rapids area restaurant locations:
- Bagel Beanery on Michigan Street
- Beltine Bar
- Grand Coney Diner on Michigan Street
- Noble Restaurant
- Omelette Shoppe
- Pete’s Grill & Tavern
- Rainbow Grill in Grandville
- Real Food Cafe in Alger Heights and on Plainfield Avenue
- Red Geranium Cafe on Byron Center Avenue and in Gaines Township
- Sundance Grill in downtown Grand Rapids and Cascade Township
HOW TO VET YOUR MAUI DONATIONS
As West Michigan donates to help the people of Maui, the Better Business Bureau Serving Western Michigan is reminding people to be careful of scams.
The BBB has gotten reports of scammers trying to cash in on support for Maui, but there are some red flags you can look out for, according to Katie Grevious, the marketing and community relations manager.
Scammers may try to pretend to be legitimate relief organizations and even use their logos. People should be cautious of social media links and crowdfunding pages. Instead, search for a nonprofit’s website and follow the links to donate.
You should research each organization to see how it is rated by the BBB and other trusted groups that provide accreditation.
The duration of time a group has been around should also being considered.
“It’s really important that we vet who we’re giving our money to. If an organization hasn’t been around very long or was just created within the last month, that’s a red flag that maybe they don’t have the means or the skills to give the money to the right people or they have ulterior motives,” Grevious said.
The BBB has created give.org to provide additional information about charities and how they are rated.