NC Chef Vivian Howard raises $41K to help Ocracoke recovery

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T-shirt sales combined with The Sunday Supper grants help restaurateurs affected by Hurricane Dorian. (Photo: Vivian Howard)

KINSTON, NC (WWAY) — North Carolina chef and PBS star Vivian Howard recently raised $41,754 to help Ocracoke restaurants rebuild after Hurricane Dorian.

In Sept. 2019, Hurricane Dorian battered Ocracoke, a barrier island 26 miles off the North
Carolina coast. Floodwaters reached unprecedented levels and damaged homes and businesses, including many restaurants that are key to the island’s tourism industry.

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This fall, Howard, host of the award-winning PBS show, “A Chef’s Life,” initially sold T-shirts
emblazoned with the saying “One Island Under Tacos” to benefit Eduardo’s, a beloved taco
stand destroyed in the storm. The response to the fundraiser was so tremendous that Howard and Eduardo Chavez (owner of Eduardo’s) decided to help additional restaurateurs on Ocracoke.

After directing $15,000 to Chavez to rebuild the taco stand, Howard has partnered with The
Sunday Supper to distribute the remaining $26,754 via its hurricane relief grant program.
“Y’all love Ocracoke! Our little fundraiser sold more than 2,500 T-shirts,” Howard said. “I’m
excited to see the profits go to help rebuild Eduardo’s taco stand as well as other Ocracoke
restaurants. I’m proud to partner with The Sunday Supper to help distribute those funds; they have an impressive track record for raising money and distributing it to help food businesses come back after disasters.”

“It’s great to witness, once again, North Carolinians supporting one another in times of distress,” said Willa Kane, chair of The Sunday Supper Board of Directors. “And, we are thrilled to partner with Vivian to ensure grant funds are directly provided to Ocracoke Island food businesses most in need.”

The Sunday Supper is a North Carolina-based non-profit that enables communities to come
together, build trust, give thanks and support one another. The organization is best known for its 1,000-person suppers on Fayetteville Street that benefitted victims of Hurricanes Matthew and Florence. The funds raised in 2018 were specifically dedicated to helping owners of restaurants, small farms and fisheries in 13 counties across Eastern NC

Howard owns Benny’s Big Time Pizzeria in Wilmington, which opened in 2017.