Ucluelet’s Floathouse Patio and Grill is finishing off a successful season with a heartwarming bang.
The Floathouse is hosting a fundraiser from 5 p.m. until closing Saturday night that will see all sales, including drinks, donated to the Food Bank on the Edge, which recently lost hundreds of dollars worth of items in a heartbreaking burglary.
The restaurant’s owner Udo Lerch told the Westerly News he was already planning for the restaurant’s last day to be a fundraiser for the Food Bank, but when he heard about the recent break-and-enter, he decided to push all sales towards the cause.
“I had a very good year and I just wanted to give back to the community,” Lerch said. “We’re going to be enjoying the final day of the season with good eats, good drinks and good music.”
Saturday night’s event will cap off a philanthropic sandwich for the restaurant owner as the Floathouse started off the season by winning the West Coast’s coveted Chowder Chowdown trophy during May’s Pacific Rim Whale Festival and Lerch donated the award’s $200 cash prize to the Food Bank.
“I thought, ‘What a way to end the season, by giving back to the Food Bank,” Lerch said.
Local musician Geoff Johnson was delighted to join Lerch’s effort and reached out to other local artists to ensure the restaurant is filled with good vibes throughout the night.
“When I read the Westerly News story [about the break-in] I thought immediately of doing what I could do,” he said adding that when he heard about Lerch’s fundraising plan, he was thrilled to jump on board.
“I knew that having some music in here and getting people pumping a little bit might get them drinking a little bit more and how often do you get to have a beer and have all that money donated to a great local cause. I thought, if i could contribute to that cool experience being that much bigger, I’m in.”
He said he’s planning to play familiar songs from the 1960’s and 1970’s and that other local musicians will add their talents during the evening.
“We’ll just try to keep people in a bit of a party mood so they might come down, have a burger and stay for a few more beers worth of Food Bank donations,” he said.
Johnson said he and other musicians are planning future concerts for the cause.
“There’s definitely a lot of interest. Pretty much anybody I’ve talked to out here wants to be a part of this…The small town thing is really important and, as we come into the fall, the town gets even smaller and tighter and more intimate,” he said.
“The insanity of somebody robbing a food bank, people can’t even comprehend all of that…Even the thought of the desperation of somebody who has to rob a food bank, I think, there’s almost the sensation that those people must be hard-up, people are desperate enough to be in a situation where that’s what they think they have to do to survive or make whatever ends meet.”
He added that with winter on the horizon, the Food Bank on the Edge’s need is growing.
“It’s a good time to be supporting the Food Bank regardless, he said. “Especially going into the holidays and the winter. There’s probably a lot of people that had a decent living in the summer and that’s kind of falling away as the tourists disappear so there’s going to be, obviously, more need and this is a great time to fill those coffers up.”