Hum­mus for Hous­ton

Ve­gan café owner do­nates money of food sales to Hur­ri­cane Har­vey re­lief re­sponse

The Community Connection - - RELIGION - By Michilea Pat­ter­son mpat­ter­son@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @MichileaP on Twit­ter

A lo­cal busi­ness owner is mak­ing eat­ing healthy and help­ing oth­ers one and the same by do­nat­ing the money of nu­tri­tious food sales.

Ashraf Khalil, owner of the all-ve­gan iCreate Café in Pottstown, has started two fundrais­ers to help those in need. One cam­paign with help lo­cal fam­i­lies pur­chase school sup­plies and the other fundraiser will give money to the Hur­ri­cane Har­vey flood re­sponse in Texas.

Khalil is call­ing the lat­ter “Hum­mus for Hous­ton” and through­out the month of Septem­ber, 25 per­cent of all hum­mus sales at iCreate Café at 130 King St. will be do­nated to help the vic­tims of Hur­ri­cane Har­vey.

“When (Hur­ri­cane) Har­vey hit Hous­ton, I was re­ally dev­as­tated,” Khalil said. “See­ing it on TV and watch­ing th­ese peo­ple lose their houses and ev­ery­thing, I was cry­ing lit­er­ally watch­ing peo­ple.”

The storm came on land as a Cat­e­gory 4 hur­ri­cane and days of con­stant rain lead to ma­jor flood­ing through­out Texas. One lo­ca­tion even re­ceived about 52 inches of rain mak­ing it the heav­i­est trop­i­cal down­pour recorded in the con­ti­nen­tal U.S.

Khalil said cur­rently those in Texas are suf­fer­ing but the next big nat­u­ral dis­as­ter can just as eas­ily hit closer to home. He said Hur­ri­cane Har­vey hap­pened around the same time that Pottstown had a tor­nado scare. He said what hap­pened to those in Texas can hap­pen to any­one.

“My house is in a flood zone in Pottstown,” Khalil said adding that if a ma­jor storm hap­pened in the area then his home could very eas­ily be flooded just like the many homes in Texas.

Af­ter see­ing all the photos and videos of the flood­ing in Texas, Khalil knew he wanted to do some­thing to help. He im­me­di­ately started re­search­ing dis­as­ter re­lief char­i­ties and wanted to do­nate his money to a smaller or­ga­ni­za­tion. He came across the non­profit “All Hands Vol­un­teers.” It’s a dis­as­ter re­lief non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tion pow­ered by vol­un­teers and is head­quar­tered in Mas­sachusetts. Khalil do­nated money to the char­ity right away but wanted to do even more which is why he be­gan the hum­mus fundraiser.

Hum­mus is dip or spread made from blended chick­peas and other fla­vors. iCreate Café has var­i­ous kinds in­clud­ing black bean hum­mus, spinach hum­mus and potato hum­mus. The cost of a con­tainer of hum­mus at iCreate is $4 so $1 will be do­nated to All Hands Vol­un­teers with each sale this month.

As part of the Hum­mus for Hous­ton cam­paign, Khalil will have a spe­cial fundrais­ing night at iCreate Café. From 5 to 8 p.m. on Sept. 15, 50 per­cent of all sales at the café will go to the All Hands Vol­un­teers or­ga­ni­za­tion to help Hur­ri­cane Har­vey vic­tims. Khalil will also have two plant­based cook­ing classes this month and 50 per­cent of those sales will go to the All Hands Vol­un­teers or­ga­ni­za­tion as well. The classes will be held 6 p.m. on Sept. 12 and Sept. 19 at the iCreate Café. For more in­for­ma­tion about each class and to reg­is­ter, visit www.icre­ate­cafe.com/health.

Khalil is also us­ing this month to raise money for fam­i­lies that need help buy­ing school sup­plies for chil­dren. Un­til Sept. 18, 100 per­cent of the money made from baba ghan­noj sales at iCreate Café will be do­nated to lo­cal fam­i­lies. Baba ghan­noj is a dip made from roasted egg­plant that is of­ten served with pita bread. A con­tainer of the spread is $5 at the cafe and ev­ery dol­lar will go to­ward help­ing fam­i­lies in need as part of the back-to-school fundraiser.

Khalil said there are many fam­i­lies that can’t af­ford all the nec­es­sary items their chil­dren need for school be­cause of dif­fer­ing cir­cum­stances. He said money from the fundraiser will be used to pur­chase gift cards then he will per­son­ally find fam­i­lies to do­nate the cards to so they can buy school sup­plies.

Khalil is look­ing to do even more fundrais­ers in the fu­ture. He said the re­build­ing of places af­fected by Hur­ri­cane Har­vey is go­ing to take years so he wants to con­tinue to bring aware­ness to those af­fected by the nat­u­ral dis­as­ter. One idea Khalil has is to talk to other down­town Pottstown busi­ness own­ers to see if they would be in­ter­ested in do­ing a week­end fundraiser where 10 per­cent of all sales would go to­ward Hur­ri­cane Har­vey.

“This is the big­gest dis­as­ter we’ve had since Ka­t­rina and it hasn’t stopped yet,” he said.

To learn more about the All Hands Vol­un­teers non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tion or to do­nate di­rectly to Hur­ri­cane Har­vey through the web­site, visit www.hands. org. For more in­for­ma­tion about iCreate Cafe in­clud­ing hours of op­er­a­tion and other menu items, visit the web­site www.icre­ate­cafe. com or call 484-312-0404. Also fol­low the ve­gan res­tau­rant on Face­book at w w w.face­book.com/iCre­ate­Cafe.

The Mer­cury is en­gaged in a long-term ef­fort, Fit for Life, de­signed to pro­mote healthy liv­ing. Visit the web­site at pottsmer­c­fit4life.om, like us on Face­book at www.face­book.com/ Mer­cFit4Life and fol­low our ef­forts on Twit­ter @Mer­cFit4Life.

Michilea Pat­ter­son is the Fit for Life re­porter and is funded in part by the Pottstown Area Health & Well­ness Foun­da­tion.

MICHILEA PAT­TER­SON — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Ashraf Khalil, owner of the all-ve­gan iCreate Café in Pottstown, poses for a photo with a con­tainer of hum­mus and a can­is­ter he’s us­ing to col­lect money for fam­i­lies that need help pur­chas­ing school sup­plies. His “Hum­mus for Hous­ton” fundraiser will help those af­fected by Hur­ri­cane Har­vey.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO — ICREATE CAFE

Ashraf Khalil, owner of the all-ve­gan iCreate Café in Pottstown, cre­ated this flyer to spread the word about his “Hum­mus for Hous­ton” fundraiser where 25 per­cent of all hum­mus sales this month will go to­ward help­ing the vic­tims of Hur­ri­cane Har­vey.

MICHILEA PAT­TER­SON — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Shown is a bowl of spinach hum­mus and baba ghan­noj along with pita bread at the all-ve­gan iCreate Cafe in Pottstown. This month, cus­tomers that pur­chase either dish will help those af­fected by Hur­ri­cane Har­vey and lo­cal fam­i­lies in need of school sup­plies.

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