Eating Out for the Philippines: Restaurants Rally to Raise Funds for Haiyan Relief Efforts

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In Leyte, Philippines the area suffered extensive damage. Photo: EU/ECHO, Arlynn Aquino/Flickr
In Leyte, Philippines the area suffered extensive damage. Photo: EU/ECHO, Arlynn Aquino/Flickr

Nearly two weeks after Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines on Nov. 7, 1.9 million people remain homeless, almost 4,000 deaths have been confirmed and another 1,600 people still missing, according to NPR. The storm was the deadliest Philippine typhoon since 1991 and effects are widespread. While it is unknown how long it will take the region to recover, the on-the-ground situation still appears confusing and devastating.

To help those still in need, the State Department announced it is officially cooperating with US-based nonprofit The mGive Foundation's Philippines Typhoon Disaster Relief Fund, which anyone can donate to online or via text. Of course, other organizations are collecting donations as well and NBC News has provided a fairly comprehensive list of national organizations accepting donations. Because of the costs and logistics of shipping, people are being strongly encouraged not to donate actual food, clothes or goods, but to send money to reputable organizations.

(In the Philippines, interestingly, the storm is known as Yolanda. The country has its own naming conventions, separate from the World Meteorological Organization, according to The Associated Press.)

In the Bay Area, local groups and restaurants are spearheading the charge to help survivors of the storm. Almost immediately after the devastation was known, the local Filipino-American community created a group called Rise Up Philippines - Bay Area to organize efforts regionally. The group held its first meeting at Barry Picazo's South San Francisco Filipino restaurant, Fort McKinley.

Picazo told the SF Examiner that the best way to donate is directly through the Philippine Red Cross, because the government in the country is known for corruption.

Food and aid distribution in Tanunan. Photo: UNHCR/Flickr
Food and aid distribution in Tanunan. Photo: UNHCR/Flickr

However, Picazo will also be hosting a fundraiser at Fort McKinley on Dec. 6. If you like eating out, it's not the only restaurant that will be donating proceeds to typhoon relief efforts. A number have already held events, but here are some of the remaining food fundraisers -- and remember, the calories don't count if they're for charity.


The Mandarin Oriental San Francisco and the Brasserie S&P: The hotel has said it'll match all donations up to $5,000 made to the Red Cross by Dec. 15. Just email your donation receipt to

That doesn't require eating, so consider also attending the Brasserie S&P (the hotel's restaurant) Happy Hour today, Nov. 21, from 4 to 7 p.m. There will be Philippines-inspired food and drink, like oysters, Pork Lumpia and Lumpiang Gulay spring rolls, chicken barbecue skewers, and atsara--pickled papaya with carrots, pearl onions, peppers and raisins. Half the proceeds will be donated to relief efforts.

Wings Wings: On Sat., Nov. 23 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., the wings joint in the lower Haight will be donating 10% of all sales to typhoon relief efforts, according to Tablehopper.

California Pizza Kitchen: Present this flyer at the California Pizza Kitchen on 3rd St, between Market and Mission, on Nov. 23 and 20% of the proceeds will go to Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan Jesuit Relief, through a fundraiser organized by students at USF.

Half Moon Bay Brewing Co: Tuesday, Nov. 26, the brewery and restaurant will host a Pampered by the Chef Night at 5 p.m. There will be complimentary Filipino bites, with donations encouraged. All funds donated will be match 100% and given to the World Food Programme.

SKOOL Restaurant: Until Nov. 30, order dinner and the Philippines-inspired dessert, Ginataang, and the price will be donated to UNICEF to support kids affected by the disaster.

Panda Express: The company has said it will match 100% of in-store donations through Dec. 3 to benefit the American Red Cross and the Tzu Chi Foundation.

Fort McKinley: The restaurant will first be hosting a special pre-Thanksgiving family buffet dinner on Nov. 27 from 6 to 9 p.m. with a special menu that includes braised pork ribs and steamed fish in soy-ginger sauce. Tickets are $30 for adults and $15 for kids under 12-years-old. A portion of the proceeds will go to the Philippines Red Cross.

The big event, though, will be on Dec. 6, co-hosted by the SF Filipino Chamber of Commerce and the SF-Manila Sister Committee. Bangon Philipinas will feature a three-course prix fixe dinner, a comedy show, a DJ and dance, a silent auction and bands. All money raised from the auction and a portion from the dinner will go to relief efforts. Tickets are $50 for the whole night or $25 for dinner only.

There are a number of other events happening to raise funds for disaster relief, including a Bay Area Typhoon Relief event this Friday, Nov. 22 at the Drake SF from 6 to 11 p.m. -- happy hour and a fashion show. Inevitably, we've missed a few. Please feel free to add any local relief efforts in the comments.