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OC restaurants raise funds for Japan

March 28, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
More than two weeks after a massive earthquake and tsunami hit Japan, the relief needs there are still great. Several Orange County restaurants are doing what they can to help.

Haven Gastropub in Old Towne Orange is donating 100 percent of Monday's profits to help victims of Japan's disaster.

The owners say all the money raised Monday will go to Mercy Corps, an international relief organization.

"To have them come out and support something like this, I mean, it shows that people care," said Greg Daniels, Haven Gastropub partner and executive chef.

"The servers and our staff are donating their time as well as the gratuity from the tips," said Haven owner Wil Dee.

In nearby Tustin at The Beach Pit BBQ, and at its five other locations, owner Tim DeCinces, a former professional baseball player, is also raising money to help Japan recover.

DeCinces donated half of Monday's profits to Japan relief efforts, to be matched up to $30,000 by Saddleback Church's PEACE Relief Mission Program.

Naoko Endo is in Orange County with her son and niece. They left Japan and are staying with a host family in Tustin. She promised to protect her niece. Her parents remain in Fukishima, running the area's only gas station for emergency workers, despite the risk of radiation exposure.

"It's a very, very dangerous place. They wanted to keep safe her daughter," said Endo.

Endo and her family will return to Japan in a month, nervous about conditions there, but comforted by the generosity shown by so many here.

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