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
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.
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
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
Island Irene Victims Facebook donation site, which accepts PayPal.
Rivers will also accept checks. You can reach her at (252)