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Serving up support

LIHUE — A buck a burger.

Donating dollars is the name of the game for a handful of local restaurants that have teamed up with the American Red Cross to raise money to help the nonprofit that aids people when disaster strikes.

The reason is simple. To help a good cause while doing what the food service industry does so well — dish up tasty treats.

“The American Red Cross has been around for a while and they have obviously helped a lot of people and as a way of giving back to the community, we wanted to help them out in this small way,” said Hookipa Cafe at Puakea golf professional Glenn Tamagawa. “For every hamburger sandwich ordered, we donate a dollar to the American Red Cross.”

So far, four local restaurants have signed up for the nationwide March campaign. The goal on Kauai is to raise $5,000.

Last year, Hookipa Cafe, 4150 Nuhou Street, raised $100 in the first year they participated, and they have their sights set on raising even more.

“I think it’s a great campaign,” Kauai Red Cross Director Padraic Gallagher said. “It goes into a general fund so it will be helping everyone in the Hawaiian Islands. It’s basically to help us with disaster services.”   

The Hukilau Lanai Restaurant, 520 Aleka Loop in Kapaa, is donating $1 for every tasting menu item sold.

General manager Krissi Miller said she’s looking forward to raising money.

“We typically take part in these kinds of things and we like to do charities in Hawaii and help here when we can,” Miller said. “It’s a good way to help other people participate also and it’s a good medium to get the word out there because I think some people want to help in some way.”

The tasting menu has a five-course menu to choose from. Last year, the restaurant raised $264 for the campaign.

“We feel good about it,” Miller said. “I think that we definitely feel it’s important to give back to the community.”

Tip Top Motel Cafe and Bakery, 3173 Akahi Street in Lihue, is donating the money in a collection box at the bakery, as is Dani’s Restaurant, 4201 Rice Street in Lihue. 

“It’s definitely a great cause and if there’s any natural disaster like Iniki, or Iwa the Red Cross is always there to support the people and the community,” said Dani’s Restaurant owner Danny Morioka, adding the locale has table tents set up to inform people about the campaign’s purpose. “The customer can choose how much they want to contribute.”

The Kauai branch will count how much money was collected from the restaurants at the end of the month. The American Red Cross’s programs include disaster relief, support for military families, blood donations, and health and safety classes such as CPR and first aid.

“I feel it’s a great opportunity to show our support to the Red Cross,” Morioka added.

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