A week from Sunday, a table will stretch down Raleigh’s Fayetteville Street to feed 1,000 people – all to raise money to help those in Eastern North Carolina affected by Hurricane Matthew.
The Nov. 13 feast – a first along downtown Raleigh’s main thoroughfare – was instigated by office conversations at Eckel & Vaughan, a Raleigh strategic communications firm.
Co-founder Albert Eckel said he and others saw how the storm had left thousands of Eastern North Carolina residents needing help. So they started making calls. The Sunday Supper was the result.
“What better way to bring people together to try to help than at the table,” Eckel said.
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The $20 tickets can only be purchased online.
This is one of several ways diners can help raise money for Hurricane Matthew recovery efforts. Kinston chef Vivian Howard asked chefs to serve Eastern North Carolina fish stew this week and donate the proceeds. To see a complete list of participating restaurants serving fish stew through Saturday, go to nando.com/fishstewrecipe.
On Thursday, Eckel and Willa Kane, who along with her husband, John, owns Kane Realty Corp., sat down to explain how the Sunday Supper came together and what they hope to achieve. Those two and Joyce Kohn of Kohn Associates, a Raleigh event planning, fundraising and marketing company, are the main organizers.
“This is the most exciting response to a crisis that I’ve ever seen in Raleigh,” said Kane, who grew up here.
The meal will include barbecue and all the fixins, but organizers haven’t finalized what restaurants will be contributing.
Smithfield’s Chicken ’N Bar-B-Q is donating tea, water, lemonade and Brunswick stew. Lucettegrace is making desserts. Big Boss Brewing Co. is donating beer. CE Rental is providing tablecloths. Twice the Ice is donating ice. Mayor Nancy McFarlane and city officials are helping organizers with permitting and logistics. Lincoln Theatre is donating a stage. Microsoft is providing volunteers to process credit card donations at the event if people want to give more. Alphagraphics is donating signs. Greenville’s Worthington Farms is donating 125 oak saplings to use as table centerpieces; the trees will later be planted in Eastern North Carolina. United Way of North Carolina offered to administer the disaster relief fund free of charge.
That is just a sampling of the entities donating goods and services.
“The generosity of so many people coming together – it’s powerful,” Kane said.
We want to help our neighbors that are in such need but also to unite our community, reaching across the table, reaching across the aisle.
Willa Kane, The Sunday Supper organizer
The timing of the dinner is not lost on the organizers, falling the Sunday after Election Day, which concludes one of the most divisive presidential political contests ever. “We want to help our neighbors that are in such need but also to unite our community, reaching across the table, reaching across the aisle,” Kane said.
The effort is appreciated, said Kinston mayor B.J. Murphy, whose Facebook Live videos about how the community was dealing with Hurricane Matthew inspired Eckel. Murphy plans to attend the event.
“Over the last three weeks or so, we’ve been the recipient of the best side of humanity,” Murphy said. “To see the church community, the business community and individuals – young and old, black and white, male and female – come together as a community in Eastern North Carolina and the state of North Carolina, has been a real comfort to people whose hearts are breaking right now. It shows the heart and generosity that is alive and well among the citizens of the state of North Carolina.”
Even if tickets sell out, organizers are encouraging folks to come downtown to see the sight of this feast happening on Fayetteville Street and to dine at downtown restaurants, which have pledged to donate 10 percent of proceeds to hurricane recovery efforts. (A list of participating restaurants isn’t available yet; we will provide an update as soon as possible.)
“Even if you aren’t sitting at the table,” Kane said, “you can come see it.”
The Sunday Supper will be noon to 4 p.m. Nov. 13 on Fayetteville Street in downtown Raleigh.
A table for 1,000 people will be set from the state Capitol to between Hargett and Martin Streets.
The feast will cost $20 per person. Tickets can only be purchased online at SundaySupperNC.org. Or you can text “SUNDAY SUPPER” to 40403 to receive the link.
All proceeds will be donated to the North Carolina Disaster Relief Fund for Hurricane Matthew.
Event organizers are still seeking volunteers and musical performers. Those interested in helping can send an email to info@sundaysupperNC.org.
Kinston mayor B.J. Murphy is doing Facebook Live updates on the situation in Kinston at 9 p.m. Fridays. facebook.com/bjmurphy360/