E.V. restaurants stepping up to help earthquake victims

Floridino's

Jeff Weninger and Shaun Kelley may not have the celebrity appeal of George Clooney and Bruce Springsteen, but that isn’t stopping the pair from putting together their own benefit for earthquake-ravaged Haiti.

Weninger and Kelley, who own Floridino’s restaurant (pictured above) and four Dilly’s Deli gourmet sandwich shops in the East Valley, are donating 25 percent of every check at the five eateries Monday.

“There are tragedies all the time, but this is so monumental we wanted to do something beyond just texting a donation, which I also did,” Weninger says.

The pair hope to raise between $3,000 and $5,000 for the AmeriCares Disaster Relief and Humanitarian Aid Organization. The group, which they vetted, uses only 0.4 percent of donations for administrative costs.

“I’m a fiscal conservative,” says Weninger, who also serves on the Chandler City Council. “I take the responsibility of taking other people’s money very seriously.”

Flancer'sWeninger and Kelley aren’t the only East Valley restaurateurs trying to help out Haiti.

Jeff Flancer (pictured at left), who has popular cafes in Gilbert and Mesa, is donating $1 for every 12-inch pizza and $2 for every 18-inch pizza sold through Thursday to the American Red Cross.

Each Flancer’s location typically sells more than 50 pizzas a day.

“Jeff is such a great role model,” says Flancer’s employee Alison Brooks, noting her boss’ frequent fundraisers include an annual pizza-eating contest to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project, which provides sports programs for wounded soldiers.

“We feel obligated to help others,” she says. “We do so well with our businesses.”

In Tempe, La Bocca Urban Pizzeria & Wine Bar is donating 20 percent of its proceeds from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday to the Red Cross.

Owner Julian Wright says the idea came from a former employee, Amanda Roberson, who served on the Caribbean island while in the Peace Corps.

“She knows the area and the people,” Wright says. “She’s pretty distraught about what’s happened there.”

Wright says the restaurant has sent invitations to nearly 5,000 customers and friends and hopes to raise $2,000.

“Depending on the weather and other factors, you never know how many people will show up,” he says. “It might be 30 or it might be 300.”

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