This just in from reader Jessica:

Hi John,

A couple nonprofits I’m on the board of would love to help local restaurants. I figure you’re the guy to ask: do you know of any local restaurants that have been particularly hard hit by the fire/mudslides for which we could provide funds to host a buffet-style meal for evacuees and first responders? Just trying to do the most good!


Feel free to send a private email to and I will forward it to Jessica.

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  1. santabarbarian says:

    The best way to help–by FAR– is simply patronize your favorite restaurants, especially the local independent ones that don’t have the ability to tap other resources have during these incredibly challenging times.

    Have your board members authorize gift card purchases and distribute to evacuees/first responders. I’m sure they’d love to just go out for a bite with friends/family, order what they’d like, go at the time they want and not worry about the cost.

    By dining out you are helping keep our locals employed. Meeting payroll is the biggest challenge (for a restaurant not otherwise harmed by our recent catastrophes, obviously). Of course those that do routinely provide large ‘to-go’ orders would love it if you were to purchase, pick-up and deliver their food to a charitable event

    For those that don’t, though, dining in their restaurant allows them to ‘do what they normally do’ (rather try to orchestrate a large to-go/buffet/catering event they may not be equipped to do). Plus, you’ll also be providing the added emotional benefit for restaurant staff to see people coming into their restaurant– after so many days of closed/empty seats– and provide hospitality once again. A welcome sense of normalcy returning.

    Lastly, dining out will put sales tax revenue back in play (as opposed to the write-off of a donation) which, frankly, the City of SB is going to be desperate for once the accounting for lost retail, sales and ‘bed tax’ revenues during this unprecedented event is completed.

    Regardless of how you choose to help– thanks for your kind thoughts and offers of assistance.

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