Evanston businesses fundraise for Nepal earthquake survivors


Tori Latham/Daily Senior Staffer

Community members eat lunch at Mt. Everest Restaurant during the restaurant’s Nepal earthquake fundraising luncheon hosted with Hagerty Consulting. More than 200 people showed up and over $15,000 were raised for survivors of the earthquake.

Tori Latham, City Editor

Two Evanston businesses teamed up Thursday to raise money for the victims of the Nepal earthquake.

Mt. Everest Restaurant, 630 Church St., and Hagerty Consulting, 1618 Orrington Ave., held a fundraiser at the restaurant to benefit both the Nepali American Center’s Nepal Earthquake Relief Fund and AmeriCares, a non-profit emergency response organization.

On April 25, an estimated 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit Nepal near its capital, Kathmandu. More than 5,500 people were killed and thousands have been injured.

“How could you not get involved?” said Steve Hagerty, the founder of Hagerty Consulting, a firm that helps clients prepare for and recover from disasters. “Someone just needs to step up and organize something and that makes sense for our company.”

Hagerty said his company came up with the idea for the fundraiser two days before the event. The consulting firm will match 100 percent of the donations to AmeriCares collected at the door.

Hagerty Consulting raised more than $15,000 for AmeriCares, with more than 200 people attending the buffet, Wendi Kromash, the firm’s marketing and communications manager, said in an email to The Daily.

Ramakant Kharel, who owns Mt. Everest, said his restaurant has long been involved in fundraising efforts, going back to when 9/11 occurred shortly after he first opened. Originally from Nepal, Kharel said he decided to give money to the Nepali American Center’s Nepal Earthquake Relief Fund because he is on the organization’s fundraising and financing team.

Ten percent of all lunch sales on Thursday went to the relief fund. Kharel’s restaurant is also serving as a donation center for the Nepali American Center, and is accepting canned foods, tents, water filters and other supplies.

“It’s a great feeling to collectively help,” Kharel said. “Money is the main way we can help, but it cannot replace food and water, which the people of Nepal need.”

Beyond helping the people of Nepal, the event was also a way for people in the Evanston business community to support each other, Hagerty said.

“It’s a wonderful feeling to see all of these people who care about making a difference,” Hagerty said. “But they’re not just donating money to the cause, they’re also eating at and supporting a business that has been here for a long time.”

Evanston resident Patrick Hughes said attending the lunch served as a way to feel more connected to the people of Nepal.

“Sometimes you feel so helpless when you’re so far away,” he said. “Steve went and vetted an organization and put together this event, and I just want to help and move forward with him.”

Many attendees emphasized the range of people who came out to the event, from students to aldermen to nonprofit groups.

“It really shows the power of what’s happening,” said Lucile Krasnow, outgoing special assistant for community relations at Northwestern. “It’s not just the regular community members who are here.”

Kharel said he was pleased with the turnout and said he hoped to see a similar crowd at a lunch event he is hosting Sunday, when 100 percent of the proceeds will go toward helping survivors of the earthquake.

“The response is overwhelming,” he said. “Nepal is a poor country that always has its problems, but this is how we can help.”

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