Holding a benefit for the victims of Hurricane Katrina is personal for Mike Weber, of the family-owned and operated Fireside Espresso.
"Some friends of my family lived in New Orleans," Weber said. "They lost their home and everything in it -- one of their friends lost a child."
When his father was going through a tough time, those friends were there for him. Those same friends also gave Weber's father a start in the grocery business.
Weber is planning an event to give back, although indirectly, to the people who made a significant difference in his life.
There is money coming in for Katrina relief efforts, but there is still so much work to be done as the Aug. 29 anniversary of the disaster approaches.
"I figured if I ever came to a point in my life where I had the means to get the community involved and get awareness going (about Katrina) I would," Weber said.
To that end, Fireside Espresso is hosting a New Orleans-style dinner buffet on Saturday, Aug 5. The buffet will begin at 5 p.m. Tickets are $8.95 and 100 percent of gross ticket sales will go to Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund, Weber said.
From the minute Fireside opens at 6 a.m. until it closes on Saturday, Aug. 5, 50 percent of all other sales will be donated to the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund.
There will be silent auction and raffle tickets for items from nearby merchants and restaurants. All of the money raised by the auction and raffle will also be donated to the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund.
Local musicians have donated their talents and time. The performance schedule includes:
- Matt Barr, 5 to 7 p.m.
- The Sandovals, 7 to 9 p.m.
- John and Lu Carpino, 9 to 11 p.m.
Weber is excited about the event and added he still plans to do more to raise awareness and remain personally involved.
One weekend next month, Weber and his mother, Linda Weber, plan to use their personal funds to go to New Orleans and take with them a few of the teens and young adults who work at Fireside. The group will lend a hand on a weekend, so the teens will not have to miss school.
"We are going to help with the clean up and just listen and talk to the people there and tell them they haven't been forgotten," Weber said.