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Port Orchard restaurant sells ornaments to stop hunger

Everybody's American Cookhouse is performing a holiday fundraiser to benefit South Kitsap Helpline Food Bank.

The restaurant erected a christmas tree decorated with holiday ornaments and is offering each of the ornaments on display for sale to customers. All of the proceeds will go to the food bank, said Barbara Meyers, who owns the restaurant with her husband Nove.

Meyers said their goal is to raise more than $1,000 for the food bank, something she thinks they will do more than acheive.

"I think we're going to go way past that," Meyers said.

The restaurant has already raised more than $300 toward its goal. They began selling the ornaments when they put up the tree about a week before Thanksgiving.

By putting the tree up before Thanksgiving, Meyers said she was able to spread the word about South Kitsap Helpline each time someone asked why their tree was up so early.

The early tree placement also helped toward their monetary goal, as a significant portion of their donations came from customers eating at the restaurant for Thanksgiving.

Some customers have purchased ornaments and then donated them right back, according to Meyers.

The restaurant's employees have become involved in the fundraiser as well.

"My employees are competing against one another," Meyers said.

Whichever employee sells the most ornaments by the restaurant's Christmas party will receive a $50 gift card. Most of the employees have even offered to donate the prize to the Helpline if they win, according to Meyers.

Everybody's American Cookhouse has been partnered with the Helpline even before their most recent fundraiser. Meyers said she was already planning to decorate the restaurant for Christmas and wanted another way to benefit the food bank.

"I thought, 'Oh my goodness, there's got to be something else we can do,' " Meyers said.

The tree will remain up, and customers can stop by to purchase ornaments or make donations all the way up until Christmas Eve on Dec. 24. Meyers stressed the point that, even after the holidays, the restaurant will continue to partner with South Kitsap Helpline in other ways.

A list of special holiday needs is available on South Kitsap Helpline's website, as well as ways to donate.

"Even if (people) don't want to buy an ornament," Meyers said, "they're welcome to drop by anything they'd like to donate."

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