Hurricane Irene Aftermath
September 4, 2011 Facebook TwitterMore...
Hatteras restaurants need donations to provide meals


Dawn Chitwood Rivers, owner of Kaia’s Kitchen and Market in Hatteras village, got a phone call from an off-island property owner and customer, just a few days after Hurricane Irene ripped up the northern parts of Hatteras Island.

Pat and Bob Esposito of Maryland wanted to donate money for Rivers to prepare a platter of food and deliver to the Rodanthe-Waves-Salvo Community Center, in the area hardest hit by the storm.

Out of that one phone call has grown a movement on the island to provide food for folks who need it and put some restaurant employees back to work.

“It was an accident, just one donation that got it started,” says Rivers who now has a tiger by the tail.

She has ended up spearheading the online fundraiser Helping Hatteras Island Irene victims.

At first, Kaia’s was providing most of the food, but Rivers says the restaurant wanted to “spread the work around to other restaurants” to create jobs on the island, where most businesses are closed and folks are out of work.

So far, in addition to Kaia’s, Sandbar and Grille, Teach’s, Rocco’s, Finnegan’s, Harbor Deli, Nino’s, and Sticky Bottom Produce Market have joined the effort.

Rivers says that this is the way it works:

People may purchase platters of food, which are being delivered to the tri-villages and Avon to displaced residents, rescue and service workers, volunteers, and homes in the Hatteras Island Meals program.

A $50 donation purchases enough food for 15 people, $100 feeds 30, and so on.

Donations are also being spread to other open restaurants and grocery stores in the community, and the group has taken food donations from several businesses as well.

“We’re creating jobs,” Rivers said.

Kaia’s has six paid workers preparing food.

“The more donations, the more money that is injected into local businesses, jobs are created, and most importantly those in need are receiving prepared meals in hopes that we can ease a little bit of their worries in this desperate time,” she said. “So far we have made enough food to serve over 1000 meals."

However, donations are running low and no one knows how long these meals – breakfast, lunch, and dinner – will be needed by islanders and workers.

All the donations, Rivers said, goes to the food and to employ workers to prepare it.

Kaia’s is in charge of delivering the food, and Rivers says she is working 17 hours a day, while husband Mike stays home with their children, Kaia, 3, and Mason, 2.

Whether by accident or not, Rivers had conceived a novel way to get much needed food to islanders who need it and contribute to the plunging economy by employing workers.

Our reporter and photographer in the tri-villages also report that the food is really good!

If you want to donate, you can click here for the Helping Hatteras Island Irene Victims Facebook donation site, which accepts PayPal.

Rivers will also accept checks.  You can reach her at (252) 305-0357.

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