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The eGullet Society and Disaster Relief

Dave the Cook

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All of us at the eGullet Society have been shocked and saddened by the destruction that Hurricane Katrina has brought upon the United States gulf coast, and we want to help. And when other disasters strike, as they most certainly will, we want the eGullet Society to be ready to act.

We cannot, of course, do enough. We have limited resources and reach, and we must act within our charter. Any efforts we undertake will pale beside the hand-to-hand, face-to-face labor that's going on, not just in Louisiana and Mississippi, but all over the world, much of it in places that don't get our attention often enough. We understand these proportions. Still, there is much our organization can do.

Following is the eGullet Society plan for reacting to Hurricane Katrina, and the framework for responses to future tragedies. We seek to help in three areas: direct support, informational support and interactive support.

Direct Support

The eGullet Society has established a $5,000 scholarship for a displaced victim of Hurricane Katrina to pay for culinary school. This will be one-year scholarship for a disaster victim. We will extend this effort as circumstances dictate. The scholarship will be paid out of the eGullet Society general fund, and will be administered by the Culinary Trust, an independent not-for-profit organization that administers scholarships for, among others, the International Association of Culinary Professionals, the Julia Child Endowment Fund and the Culinary Institute of America. The scholarship application period will begin on 15 September 2005. We will provide more details then, and will make an announcement regarding the new eGullet Society scholarship program in general.

In addition, the eGullet Society urges all its members to give generously to disaster relief causes. This is perhaps our most powerful resource: a large group of people with a common passion. In order to facilitate giving to worthy causes, the eGullet Society will allocate all of its banner space, which is normally devoted to acknowledging our sponsors, to food-related disaster relief organizations such as America's Second Harvest and CIRAjobs (if you have additional organizations to suggest, watch for the instructions we will soon provide for submitting such suggestions). Membership and general readership together account for three million views of eGullet Society banners per month. We are actively seeking agreements with rescue, relief and recovery organizations to allow us to post banners and links immediately upon the onset of a disaster.

Informational Support

We are establishing, in our General forum, a permanent pinned topic listing food-related charities and relief organizations. These organizations will be grouped by region, and the topic will explain how to get a group added to the list.

We will publicize culinary fundraising events on the eG Calendar, and with listings in the "Upcoming Events" topics in the regional forums. We are appointing a coordinator, Dean McCord ("Varmint"), to handle Katrina-related event information. Please use the personal messenger (PM) system or e-mail (dmccord@eGullet.org) to relay any such information to him, and he will work to get it listed and cross-referenced. In addition, we encourage those who attend culinary fundraising events to report on them. Among other things, this acknowledges the good work that so many restaurants, retailers, wineries and other culinary entities conduct.

Interactive Support

So that eGullet Society members can share information and good wishes in the aftermath of a disaster, we will maintain a discussion topic for Katrina, as well as topics for future large-scale disasters. In order to make these materials as easy to locate as possible, we ask that responses be grouped in a unified topic in the General forum, rather than in multiple fragmented eG Forums topics. We will point to this topic from the relevant regional forums. (Needless to say, such topics aren't for political argumentation or confrontation. Our priority is not to second-guess, criticize or argue, but to provide help and support.)

As the gulf coast rebuilds its culinary industry -- indeed, its legacy -- in the wake of Katrina, members will be there to report, celebrate and discuss. We will have first-hand reports from affected areas, and we will act as a clearinghouse for reports in other media outlets, which we will group together and discuss in relevant topics. We hope to do the same as other communities recover from future disasters.

The staff of the eGullet Society wishes to commend the membership for its heartfelt response in the face of human tragedy and the wake of culinary misfortune. Thank you.

Dave Scantland
Executive director
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

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