Rance’s co-owner Aaron Tofani is helping organize a benefit drive for those affected by Tropical Storm Harvey. Photo: Asia Morris
Tropical Storm Harvey has left Houston and much of Southeast Texas and Louisiana in shambles after dumping feet of rain on the region forcing tens of thousands of people to flee since initially making landfall last week.
The damage and devastation is being estimated in the tens of billions of dollars with some analysts going so far as to say that Harvey could be the costliest national disaster in United States history. In the wake of the storm, charitable donations have surged and one Long Beach restaurant is joining the action with a fundraiser for Harvey victims starting Monday.
Rance’s Chicago Pizza, which recently opened a location in Belmont Shore, is hosting a fundraiser at its Long Beach and Costa Mesa locations to help the victims of the catastrophic weather event. The pizza chain’s “Help for Hurricane Harvey” event will offer free gift cards or pizzas to customers who visit either location and donate. Its Harvey donation drive will last until Sunday September 10.
Customers who bring in a bag of nonperishable food and/or blankets and clothes will receive a $10 gift card to Rance’s and those who donate $100 or more will receive a free large pizza. All money donated will be directed to the American Red Cross Hurricane Harvey fund.
“In times of crisis it’s great when people show their true colors by gathering together in solidarity to help our fellow brothers and sisters in need,” Rance’s co-founder and Executive Chef Rance Ruiz said in a statement.
Rance’s childhood friend and co-owner Aaron Tofani said they typically keep their causes more local having worked with Justin Rudd’s Community Action Team and other local charitable organizations, but seeing the news coverage of Harvey’s destruction made him want to do something to help those affected by the storm.
“I’m looking at all these people and their whole lives are devastated,” Tofani said. “It made me feel bad and I said, ‘Let’s do something to help the Harvey victims. These people are all flooded out of their places, everything’s gone.”
CNN reported earlier this week that corporate entities have pledged tens of millions of dollars in support of the victims in Texas and Louisiana. Houston Texans football star J.J. Watt has helped raise another $6 million with an updated goal of $10 million. However, those charitable donations pale in comparison to the growing amount of damage in the region that may take months, if not years to overcome.