“When we heard about the earthquake,” says Laurelhurst Theater owner Prescott Allen, “my partner Woody [Wheeler] and I felt that we had to do something. There’s just so much need out there, and if everybody does a little bit, that will go a long way.” Allen is no stranger to Mercy Corps — he and his wife give their friends and family Mercy Kits as birthday and holiday gifts.
Allen and Wheeler have been friends since middle school, and went into business together to open their newly remodeled historic theater/brewpub in NE Portland in 2000. “We each have two kids,” says Allen, “and seeing those images of the kids in Haiti, the horrible situation…you feel so helpless. You want to know, What can I do?”
The partners quickly decided to donate one night’s concession sales to Mercy Corps’ relief efforts in Haiti. “Our customers were really happy to contribute,” says Prescott. “It’s an easy way for people to help.”
It was a good night — with about 75 more people in the audience than usual, the theater raised $1500. Even better, their donation was matched 100 percent by the new neighborhood grocery store, Whole Foods Market. “When you read the stories of what’s happening in Haiti, it’s just so painful,” says Helen Lee, who is responsible for the store’s marketing and community relations. “It’s great that people in the community are stepping up — it’s a little bit of sunshine.”