Late at night between April 30 and May 1, a fire started in the home of Jody Stevens, better known as her baking persona, Jodycakes. Stevens herself wasn't home at the time of the fire, because she was assisting fellow chef Randy Rucker at his sold-out Spring on the 3rd Coast pop-up dinner. Her neighbors called and alerted her to the blaze, but by the time she made it home, the structure and everything inside (except for her cats, who were saved) was a complete loss.
Stevens is very active in the local restaurant community, often lending a hand to friends and helping with events. Recently, she donated baked goods and served as a target in a dunk tank for the Gracie Nguyen fundraiser, and last year, she spearheaded an effort to raise awareness about mental illness with the Depressed Cake Shop. All the proceeds from that event were donated to the Montrose Center.
"She's always been the first person to jump on things when someone in the industry needs help," says Joshua Martinez, owner of Goro & Gun and a friend of Stevens's. "So this is really one of our own. Of course we have to help her."
According to a fundraising page that's been set up for Stevens, the home was insured, but everything inside--including tools she uses for her successful cake business--was lost.
Martinez, along with industry volunteer Liz Fenton, Houstonia food editor Katharine Shilcutt and a few other local chefs and restaurateurs, has organized a series of events and fundraisers to help Stevens rebound from her losses. Starting this Sunday, May 4 and continuing through the month, various restaurants and bars will open their doors for events benefitting Stevens, who will need to rebuild from the ground up.
Bobby Heugel of The Pastry War has already stepped forward to help, writing on Facebook, "Bartending at The Pastry War tonight. ALL tips go to Jody Stevens to help soften the blow of a fire that destroyed everything she owns. I'll also match every tip dollar for dollar with an addition donation." That was in reference to Thursday night, but it's not too late to help out in other ways.
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In conjunction with Sunday Streets HTX this weekend, friends of Stevens will be hosting a donation drive outside of Paulie's restaurant on Westheimer from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. This will coincide with The Bull & the Pearl pop-up meal at Paulie's, and The Modular food truck will be stationed nearby to serve food as well. All of The Modular's profits from that day will do directly to Stevens. At the event, volunteers will be encouraging people to donate to Stevens online, and they'll also be accepting cash and checks (made out to Jody Stevens) and gift cards (since those wouldn't be considered taxable income).
Later Sunday evening, Aaron Lara and Jeremy Olivier of DownHouse will be hosting a make-your-own-milk-punch event using infused milks from 6 to 9 p.m. All tips from the event will be donated to Stevens.
On May 11, Adam Dorris (most recently of Revival Market) will be hosting a dinner with Plant It Forward, and he intends to donate all proceeds to Stevens. More details on that dinner will be available in the coming days. At 5 p.m. the same day, OKRA Charity Saloon will hold a crawfish boil to raise money for Stevens as well.
Finally, there will be a big fundraising event Sunday, May 25 (Memorial Day weekend) at Big Star Bar. The details haven't been completely ironed out yet, but the event will include a silent auction. And since Stevens to graciously agreed to be plummeted into cold water in a dunk tank at last month's fundraiser for Gracie Nguyen at Big Star Bar, it only seems fair that the dunk tank come back out in her honor. I'll gladly hop back in. Who's with me?