“The hell for so many has just begun.”
Those were the sobering words sent out in an e-mail on Tuesday from Samuel Jackson, owner of East Boston’s Australian restaurant KO Catering & Pies. Since the historic bushfires in Australia first began in September 2019, news of the region’s dire circumstances has spread throughout the globe: Dozens of people have died, millions of animals have perished, and towns have been destroyed.
Jackson knew that he needed to help in some way.
“At first, the overwhelming feeling of sadness and shock made me feel helpless and in many ways useless,” he wrote. “However, I knew that sitting around doing nothing and feeling sorry wasn’t going to help.”
So Jackson has mobilized the local restaurant community to create Boston Barbie for Bushfire Support, a fundraiser and Aussie-style buffet featuring some of Boston’s biggest names: Tony Messina (Uni), Cassie Piuma (Sarma), Haley Fortier (Haley.Henry, Nathálie), Michael Serpa (Select Oyster Bar, Grand Tour), Alex Saenz (BISQ), and Ken Oringer and Jamie Bissonnette (Toro, Little Donkey, Coppa) are among more than 20 chefs who are contributing to the event. Other donors and sponsors include businesses like Notch Brewing, Castle Island Brewing, Narragansett, Olives & Grace, and Wave N’ Pave Tattoo.
The event will take place Tuesday, Jan. 28, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Capo Supper Club in Southie. Tickets, which can be purchased here for $150, include food plus alcoholic beverages. Attendees will also be able to take part in a raffle and bid on auction items, and all of the proceeds will be donated to various organizations involved with the fire-fighting and relief efforts, including the Australian Red Cross, New South Wales Rural Fire Service, and WIRES.
The wildfires have prompted other local businesses to raise awareness and funds, including Bow Market wine bar Rebel Rebel, which donated 100 percent of Tuesday’s sales from Borachio Wine’s Pash Rash pét-nat to the Adelaide Wine Region Fire Appeal.
And through Friday, Bluestone Lane, the Australian-inspired coffee shop and cafe which recently opened two Boston-area locations, will donate all of its profits from its 49 stores across the U.S. and Canada to the Australian Bushfire Emergency Relief Fund. Guests can also tack on a donation to their bill at Bluestone throughout the end of January. Details about Australian Day, another Bluestone fundraising event on Jan. 26, will be released soon.