How Event Pros Are Helping Relief Efforts

October 4, 2001, 12:00 AM EDT

Many people in the special events industry are taking the tools and resources they have as event planners--organizational skills, food preparation, technical innovations--and dedicating them to helping the city and the country recover from the World Trade Center attacks. Here are some stories of those in the special events industry who are helping--and ways for you to help, too.

(To let us know what you're doing, send an email to Executive Editor Chad Kaydo at

How to Help Relief Efforts
Where to Donate Money
World Trade Center Disaster Benefits


Tao has donated $10,000 to a fund to benefit the families of the firefighters, police and rescue workers killed in the September 11 attacks, and chef Sam Hazen has worked for more than 75 hours helping to feed relief workers breakfast and lunch at ground zero.
Posted 10.04.01

For all future events that Briggs Red Carpet had booked for clients at Windows on the World, the company is donating the deposit it had already paid to the Windows of Hope Family Relief Fund (set up for the families of food and beverage workers lost in the attacks), and returning the same amount to clients out of the company's own funds.
Posted 09.26.01 is waiving its commissions for any group or nonprofit that uses its services to organize an online benefit auction for the families and victims of the September 11 tragedy. The company is also collaborating with to produce an event focused on the food and hospitality industries on behalf of the Silver Shield Foundation, which is providing scholarships to the children of firefighters and police who were victims of the World Trade Center attack.
Posted 09.26.01

David Emil, owner of Windows on the World, and Michael Lomonaco, the restaurant's executive chef, have established the Windows of Hope Family Relief Fund to help families of all members of the food and beverage industry who were lost in the tragedy. Donations can be sent to: Windows of Hope Family Relief Fund, c/o David Berdon & Company LLP, 415 Madison Avenue, New York, NY, 10017. Checks should be made payable to the Windows of Hope Family Relief Fund. On October 11, a group of restaurants and foodservice establishments across the country and abroad will donate at least 10 percent of that day's proceeds to the Windows of Hope Family Relief Fund. Restaurants wishing to participate should contact M. Young Communications at 212.620.7027, ext. 336 or 333.
Posted 09.25.01

Paramount Party Supplies owner Jason Littman donated 1,000 six-inch safety light sticks to the rescue effort. An alternative to flashlights, the sticks are dropped into holes to illuminate the area for rescue workers.
Posted 9.25.01

Bowlmor Lanes and its billiards hall Pressure are donating 10 percent of all revenues from parties and events during the months of September, October and November to the Red Cross.
Posted 09.25.01

Charlie Palmer's Aureole is donating $10 for each dinner served through October 11, 2001, to the Windows of Hope Family Relief Fund, which has been established to assist the families of restaurant workers lost in the World Trade Center tragedy.
Posted 09.22.01

Business Equipment Rentals has been supplying computers, printers, copiers, faxes and shredders for a reduced fee to the American Red Cross and a number of the companies displaced by the attacks.
Posted 09.22.01

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide is donating $1 million to the September 11th Fund.
Posted 09.22.01

The four W hotels in New York are offering the use of their event spaces (when availabile) for a minimal cost to companies directly affected by the World Trade Center attacks, or for benefits related to the disaster. The boutique-style chain is waiving the normal room rental rates, and charging only a fee to cover labor, food and beverage, taxes and other fees. Recipients are subject to the chain's approval, and the contact (for these types of events only) is PR manager Maggie Leigh, at 212.659.3567.
Posted 09.21.01

Eclectic/Encore Props donated 1,000 rain ponchos for relief workers, in addition to financial contributions to related funds.
Posted 09.21.01

Event planner Maureen Ryan-Fable of Ryan Fable Productions has been working with the Salvation Army to help coordinate delivery of food items to ground zero. (Here's how to help.) She also reports that David Bouley of Bouley Bakery has set up a mess hall directly at ground zero and has been providing food for a week to the rescuers, and that John McGuire of Gotham Seafood has been using his refrigerated trucks to bring items from the Salvation Army headquarters to ground zero.
Posted 09.20.01

Tony May (of San Domenico NY), who lost two of his Tony May Group restaurants at 4 World Trade Center, has been working with other chefs, restaurateurs, city agencies and organizations to provide food for the rescuers. He also sent food to the Italian consulate for the many visitors who have been forced to pay for hotel rooms while stranded in New York.
Posted 09.20.01

Brasserie Julien and Allure Catering are donating 5 percent of their food and beverage sales and 2 percent of their catering sales for September and October to the Red Cross's disaster relief fund. Chef/owner Philippe Feret says, “I reopened the Windows on the World at the World Trade Center after the '93 bombing and I know some of the staff that worked there.”
Posted 09.20.01

Although TriBeCa's Bubble Lounge was temporarily closed after the attacks, the Bubble Lounge Group, which also owns a location in San Francisco, has begun a fund-raising program for disaster relief funds. The San Francisco lounge has raised more than $16,000 in donations from customers, employees and the company itself. Both restaurants also plan to hold special fundraising nights on September 25, October 3, October 11 and October 19.
Posted 09.20.01

Torch restaurant partners Mario Flores and Johnny Santiago are donating 10 percent of all profits from their daily sales for the next four weeks to the the September 11th Fund. They're also making their space available at a discounted rate during the day for conferences and events searching for an emergency venue.
Posted 09.20.01

Bon Appetit and its event staff have worked as liaisons between about 40 restaurants and the relief efforts headed by City Harvest and NYC & Company.
Posted 09.20.01

Caterer Neuman & Bogdonoff reports that it has been helping at the WTC site since the night of the Tuesday the 11th.
Posted 09.20.01

Eric Todd of BML Stage Lighting and Productions reports: “Once we found out what was needed, we donated a pile of older lighting fixtures that were about to be sold off to help light up the space at night. Several BML electricians have donated their time working several very long nights helping with the effort. BML also provided over a hundred respirator cartridges, and then its principal and many employees donated to a pool for a large purchase from Price Club of wipes, flashlights, gloves, socks, towels, underwear, bottled water, Gatorade, saline and accrued a substantial pile of hopefully useful materials. BML has also donated the use of a large quantity of bicycle rack type barriers for use by the city with its efforts.”
Posted 09.20.01

The following items were published as part of our Special Report on how the special event industry first responded to the World Trade Center attacks:
Posted 09.18.01

Catering company Robbins Wolfe Eventeurs' kitchen is located at 521 West Street, within view of the World Trade Center site. “Much of my staff saw what happened from right outside,” partner Christopher Robbins told us. As survivors passed by while fleeing the wreckage, the staff handed out bottles of soda and water leftover from the Hamptons Classic. Later, the caterer delivered food from the company's cancelled events to St. Vincent's Hospital.

While some caterers had to leave their headquarters to deliver food, Abigail Kirsch Culinary Productions had emergency workers show up right in their venues. Chelsea Piers, where Kirsch is the exclusive caterer for Pier Sixty and the Lighthouse, became a center for triage work, rescue workers and supply storage (as did the Javits Center). “We had triage at Chelsea Piers so we were feeding doctors,” the caterer's James Kirsch told us. “Banquet tables were turned into beds.”

On Tuesday, Tom Cheves and two of his employees at Airstar Lighting Balloons USA drove up from Florida to bring some of the company's Airstar lighting units (Read our Discovery...) to help light the rescue efforts at ground zero. (The drive took 24 hours due to traffic and the equipment they were hauling.) The lightweight, balloon-like Airstars are usually used to light film sets or to decorate special events--but they've also helped tornado relief efforts and other post-disaster work. After Cheves arrived, he worked with Duane Chan-Shue and Peter Prostowich at the product's New York distributor, Special Events Available Light, to deliver four of the units and some generators to the rescue site.

On Wednesday, Jaclyn Bernstein, Robert Hulsmeyer and Kevin White of special events and destination management services company Empire Force Events rented a van and headed to the impromptu emergency center at Chelsea Piers. After finding out what the rescue workers needed, the trio gathered donations from neighborhood businesses and ended up running supplies directly to the site downtown. Once there, they also helped distribute items among the different camps set up to help. “As event planners, we saw that it needed organization,” Bernstein told us, so they helped workers communicate with each other and share supplies. After working until 1 AM, the trio regrouped on Thursday, and then went back to help on Friday, delivering water, food and other requested supplies.

Event decor and entertainment firm Pink Inc.'s six full-time staffers were listening to the radio on Friday when they heard that the dogs helping rescue workers were getting cut from walking on the glass at the site. Looking for a way to help, they designed special booties for the dogs, using white vinyl leftover from a past decor project. Making and delivering sets of boots for 20 dogs helped the rescue efforts, and also gave the Pink Inc. crew a welcome diversion and a way to deal with their own feelings. “We called them go-go boots,” Pink Inc. director of marketing and sales Daniel Nardicio told us, sounding relieved to have something to laugh about amidst so much sadness.

Danny Meyer temporarily closed his restaurants in order to have the kitchen staffs prepare and deliver food to hospitals, fire and police stations and shelters.

Restaurant and independent movie house the Screening Room has been closed to the public (it's just south of Canal), but its staff has been serving food to rescue workers.

Robert De Niro, whose TriBeCa restaurant ventures have been closed since the attacks, helped organize a food drive to feed the rescue workers, and worked with Spirit Cruises yachts Spirit of New York and Spirit of New Jersey to deliver food to ground zero, Entertainment Weekly's Web site reported. Since Friday, TriBeCa Grill chef Don Pintabona has worked with other top New York chefs including Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Daniel Boulud, Charlie Palmer and Gray Kunz to provide food for emergency workers, 500 meals at a time.

Restaurant and club owners including Merchants Restaurant Group have already started planning benefits to raise money for relief efforts.

Jennifer Stewart--who performs as Living Liberty, a live version of the Statue of Liberty, at corporate events--went out to give people a patriotic New York symbol.

Carey International announced it would offer its chauffeured vehicles at cost from September 13 to September 21 for those trying to travel between cities while air travel was impossible or limited.

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