Honolulu Fundraiser Benefits Immigrant Services

Aug 18, 2006 07:17 PM

By: Diane Ako

IWILEI (KHNL)- A fundraiser in Honolulu this weekend benefits Hawaii immigrants and low income folks. It's a Sunday brunch series and it kicks off this month. Once a month E&O Trading Co. in Ward Center hosts a brunch, with the proceeds to benefit non profit group Pacific Gateway Center (PGC).

PGC helps those needing assistance move toward self sufficiency. One of the resources PGC offers its clients is a culinary incubation facility (imagine a large warehouse full of commercial quality kitchens). The entrepreneurial opportunities presented by the facility fits perfectly with the culinary skills many of the PGC clients have -- in particular, the Southeast Asian immigrant community.

Take the case of Nixon Dabalos. The Filipino immigrant went to PGC for help when he wanted to start his "Paper Plate" lunch wagon 8 months ago. "They did all my paperwork, licensing, permit, and gave me phone numbers, addresses, where to go, and what to do," he says gratefully. "With them, they held my hand and took me to the places I wanted to go. That motivated me. I actually do it and not procrastinate."

Dabalos is just one of 6,000 clients Pacific Gateway Center helps each year. The center targets Southeast Asian immigrants. "They have different language speaking staff there so they can help you out," explains Dabalos, who has a degree from Gros Bonnet Culinary Academy in Honolulu.

Many of PGC clients have a cooking background, which makes it a good match for E&O Trading Co., which features Southeast Asian cuisine. E&O Trading Co. is hosting an ongoing fundraiser for the center. Manager Richard Wong says, "It's a good way to introduce Pacific Gateway to the community and to introduce their culinary skills."

The center is grateful. Dr Miyang Theim says, "We're getting exposure to a different level of restaurateurs that we wouldn't get out in, like, Chinatown."

The center hopes to raise $6,000 from Sunday's brunch. The money will go right back towards entrepreneurial programs.

Date: Sunday, August 20, 2006

Time: 10:00am - 2:00pm (last reservation)

Cost: $30.00 per person (children under 12 are free) ($15.00 of each ticket is tax deductible)

Reservations: Yes, encouraged (limited to 300 seats for this first event