AVON, Colorado - Summer fundraising efforts by chef Adam Roustom and his wife Elli, owners of The Blue Plate Restaurant in Avon, culminated recently with the presentation of a check to the American Red Cross International Services.
Roustom, who came to the United States from Damascus, Syria, as a child, began "Mediterranean Night" fundraising events in mid-July, with a percentage of all Wednesday dinner sales earmarked for Syrian refugee relief. Accepting the donation on behalf of the American Red Cross was Jules Kelty, Senior Director of Donor Relations for the Mile High Region.
While pleased with the response from the community, Roustom wishes he could do more. "If anything, the situation on the ground has gotten even worse, with over 100,000 refugees fleeing Syria in August alone," Roustom said. "I don't care where you're from, or where you fall politically, these are innocent lives caught in the struggle and to see these families torn apart by the conflict is simply heartbreaking."
Kelty and the Red Cross International Services will now take steps to ensure that the donation finds its way to the Red Crescent, the Red Cross's counterpart in Muslim countries around the globe. Together, the two groups make up the largest humanitarian network in the world. According to Kelty, current embargoes in the region make it difficult to ensure the funds find their way to a specific destination. She says the mission of the Red Cross International Service is to be sure these funds go specifically to the Syrian refugee relief efforts.
Roustom knew his best chance at creating awareness was through his food and sought to draw a correlation by highlighting cuisine from the region. The response touched Roustom deeply.
"Elli and I want to specifically thank everyone in the community for opening their hearts to this cause and for making this donation possible," Roustom said. "But, that said, we're hopeful that next year at this time the people of that region will be home again and there will be resolution to the conflict."