Random Ephemera

This Week in Harvey Relief: Lone Star Brewing, Chuck Norris and a Tepee Help Feed Houston

This teepee feeds humans.
This teepee feeds humans. Photo courtesy of Altruist Relief
With so much good news coming our way about how Houston restaurants, chefs, volunteers, nonprofits, and food banks are doing exceptional work when it comes to Harvey Relief, the Houston Press will be rounding up the highlights for the coming weeks.

Here are the main donation and volunteer highlights from last week.

Altruist Relief, currently on the ground in Houston with a large industrial kitchen housed in a patented 2,000-square-foot Rapid Response tent that resembles a  Siberian tepees, trained volunteers and a large quantity of dry food, is in need of monetary donations and volunteer cooks to aid in their relief effort. They are cooking hot meals for those in need at 7815 John Ralston Road and at Christian Life and Family Center dining hall at 618 Baca.  The nonprofit's founder Lucas Wilcox estimates that the group will stay in Houston for around six months in an effort to alleviate the financial burden of food costs for thousands of people. More info at altruistrelief.org

According to Feeding Texas, the Houston Food Bank has been receiving six truckloads of donations every hour, and expecting 2,000 volunteers daily.  The Food Bank of Corpus Christi, which had major roof damage during Harvey, is now up and running, and it was announced that HISD students will receive free meals through the rest of the school year. Find out more pressing post-Harvey news at feedingtexas.org.

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Max Roush, volunteer driver for The Salvation Army; Gena and Chuck Norris, owners of CForce Bottling Company
Photo courtesy of the Red Cross

In addition to a significant donation to The Salvation Army, Gena and Chuck Norris have supplied over 600,000 bottles of their premium artesian water, CForce, directly to Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. CForce is bottled at the source on the Norris family ranch in Navasota.

To allow for Killen’s Barbecue and Killen’s Burgers to reopen for business, Killen’s Steakhouse has now taken over the reigns of the Killen’s Restaurants contributions of meals for shelters and responders, thanks to its secondary catering and events kitchen. Continued donations welcome to Ronnie Killen’s GoFundMe campaign, which has raised over $101k as of today, surpassing the halfway mark of its $200k goal.

Pei Wei has been delivering food to shelters in Houston and surrounding areas, and allowed first responders to eat free from September 2 to 8. The company is also pledging a $10,000 direct donation to The JJ Watt Foundation to assist in its efforts to support flood victims.

Nineteen of Pei Wei’s Houston area restaurants are back up and running. The Beaumont location is open, but with significant restrictions.

Prince's owners Patti and John Broussard could use some help.
Photo courtesy of Brad Broussard
Brad Broussard, whose parents reopened popular Houston burger spot Prince's Drive Inn in the '80s to keep it alive and have since been running the landmark, is hoping to raise money for them.  Broussard's mother, Patti,  and father, John, had their home destroyed in Harvey and it's still surrounded by water: "If you can do anything at all to help them, anything, please visit their go fund me page and contribute whatever you can. And we understand if you cannot."

Sweet Tomatoes,with four locations in Houston, is offering free meals to first responders, including police officers, firefighters, Texas National Guard members and FEMA personnel at all Houston area locations until September 15.  On Labor Day, 50 cases of Sweet Tomatoes bottled water was donated to Bethel’s Heavenly Hands about eight miles from the restaurant chain’s flood-distressed Stafford location.

Whole Foods Markets in Houston fed the community for free with a pasta dinner on September 7.

The Houston Museum of Natural Science and The Andre Johnson Foundation including former Texans player Andre Johnson served a free hot meal to the Fifth Ward community on September 7 while also showing off a selection of cool insects from the Cockrell Butterfly Center to kids at Fifth Ward Church of Christ. Neat-o.

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First responders dined at Bosscat on the house.
Photo courtesy of Bosscat Kitchen & Libations
Bosscat Kitchen & Libations hosted more than 30 Houston Police Department officers and FBI agents from Washington DC for dinner on September 1.

Bluebell, Freddy’s, Landry’s, Minute Maid, Papa Johns, Pluckers, Torchy’s Tacos, Whataburger and the Transocean Cook Team have joined the Astros Foundation to feed 500 Texas National Guard members who are positioned at Ellington Field Joint Reserve Base for Hurricane Harvey relief efforts.  The Astros have provided over 3,500 meals since September 7 and will continue to feed these National Guard members until September 14. For those wishing to donate to the Astros Harvey Relief Fund, please visit youcaring.com/astrosharvey.                    

Papa John's donated approximately 4,000 personal pizzas to Hurricane Harvey refugees taking shelter at NRG Center on August 30.  It also partnered with Countryside Trailers to operate a Mobile Pizza Kitchen at The Lone Star Convention & Expo Center shelter serving another 500 evacuees.

More than 200 Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurants in Texas and Louisiana donated 50 percent of sales from September 10 to the United Way Harvey Recovery Fund.

Rice Village District has partnered with numerous restaurants to bring relief. Jason’s Deli delivered 2,700 meals to MD Anderson, Memorial Hermann and volunteers at Toyota Center and 2,100 meals to KIPP Houston and Connect Community. Gorgeous Gael and El Meson donated over 250 meals to Second Servings; D’Amico’s Italian Market Café provided 150 meals too. Torchy’s Tacos prepared 1,000 tacos for patients and staff at MD Anderson. Rice Village District and LaMesa coordinated dinner for 70 West University Place police offers, fire fighters, EMT personnel and city workers, and OhMyGogi! food truck will deliver meals to temporary schools at Connect Community in the days ahead.

 Local restaurants interested in donating meals or partnering with Rice Village District can contact Jencey Keeton at [email protected] and find info at RiceVillageDistrict.com.

Lone Star Brewing has set up the Lone Star Beer Disaster Relief Fund, with a goal of raising $250,000 by the end of the year, seeded with an initial donation of $25,000. Anybody can donate $10 to Lone Star’s hurricane relief efforts by texting GIVE HOPE to 80100 or visiting the website globalgiving.org/lonestargivesback.
All funds raised will go directly to charities providing local aid to all communities affected by the hurricane
Lone Star has pledged to match all employee contributions to the fund 2:1, up to $20,000.

Lone Star is also coordinating physical, on-the-ground assistance with volunteers, an engagement team and partnerships with local bars, venues, retailers, and others.

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A kani baked poke bowl.
Photo by Kimberly Park
Harvey Relief Events

At, SeaSide Poke, every bowl sold between now and Friday, September 15, the restaurant will donate $1 to Rebuilding Together Houston, a local organization that repairs homes for low-income, elderly homeowners.

All Sweet Tomatoes and Souplantation restaurants nationwide, including four locations in Houston, are matching $1 donations from guests until September 15, to be donated to the Houston Food Bank.

All local Azuma Group restaurants including Kata Robata, Izakaya will select a specialty sushi roll to support Harvey relief during lunch and dinner. For each roll purchased, the restaurant will donate $3 to the J.J. Watt Foundation and its efforts to help the victims of the recent storm and floods. The fundraising project will continue for a full week or more.

Bubbles For Donations continues at both The Tasting Room locations through the end of September. Drop off any donations for Harvey relief efforts and receive a complimentary glass of bubbles. Donations include clothing, water, pet supplies and school supplies.

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Margs for relief at Caracol.
Photo by Paula Murphy
For the next 2 months, Hugo’s, Caracol, Backstreet Café and Xochi will be serving Houston Strong Margaritas and $1 per each sold will go towards Harvey relief.

Zoës Kitchen locations across the country, more than 230 in total, are accepting monetary donations at checkout for the American Red Cross Hurricane Relief efforts through September 30. Guests who donate will receive $3 off their next purchase.

For all of September and October, five percent of proceeds from all sales at both Kenny & Ziggy's locations,  2327 Post Oak and 5172 Buffalo Speedway,  will be donated to the flood relief efforts being carried out by the Jewish Federation of Greater Houston. This also includes proceeds for all catering events and special programs for the upcoming Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur Holidays. Proceeds benefit to the Jewish Federation of Greater Houston with an emphasis on helping the hard hit areas of Meyerland and Bellaire.

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Gwendolyn Knapp is the food editor at the Houston Press. A sixth-generation Floridian, she is still torn as to whether she likes smoked fish dip or queso better.