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Susan Axelrod

Susan Axelrod's food writing career began in the kitchen; she owned a restaurant and catering business for 15 years before turning to journalism. By day, she is the social media editor for Portland Press Herald. To relax, she bakes, gardens and hikes with her husband and their two dogs, preferably followed by a cocktail or a Maine beer. Susan can be contacted at 791-6310 or On Twitter: @susansaxelrod

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Posted: February 27, 2014

Good times while doing good: Food and drink events that give back

Written by: Susan Axelrod

Shutterstock photo

Maine folks are an altruistic sort, always willing to pitch in their money, time and talent to benefit worthy organizations and help others, both in our own backyard and far away. What’s also noteworthy is the creativity we see in charitable events that combine doing good with a good time. Here are some upcoming opportunities to be philanthropic, while eating, drinking, listening to great music … and bowling. Because if your belly’s full and you’re having fun, you’re more likely to open your wallet.

Bangladesh Brothel Medical Mission Benefit

Friday, Feb. 28 | 6-8 p.m.
Vena’s Fizz House | 345 Fore St., Portland | pay-as-you-go

Portland nurses, Emily Gerardo and Mandy Rodney, are raising money for a return trip to the Tangail brothel in Bangladesh to provide critical healthcare for the women and girls who work there. Snacks and sodas will be served. Ten percent off everything in the store and 10 percent of soda sales will be donated to the cause. Donations of Tylenol, Advil and condoms are greatly needed and appreciated.

Share Our Strength Benefit Week

March 1-8
Grace Restaurant | 15 Chestnut St., Portland | pay-as-you-go
For Grace’s 4th annual Share Our Strength Benefit Week, $1 from every entree will go to SOS to help end childhood hunger. There will be bar and food specials all week with proceeds also going towards the goal.

Feed the Arts benefit for MENSK

Sunday March 2 | 11:30 am – 9 pm
El Rayo Taqueria | 101 York St., Portland | pay-as-you-go

Raise a salted glass to benefit MENSK, whose mission is “to inspire and support personal, local, and regional action for the development of creative and sustainable communities.” Feed the Arts is El Rayo’s fundraising campaign to help the local art community; each week they choose a different non profit, donating 10 percent of their profits for that day. All you have to do to help is eat and drink.

And during Restaurant Week …

Several events during Maine Restaurant Week are also benefits for local organizations, including, yes, a pancake race and bowling tournament, both new this year. See the full line up:

Pancake race and bowling with chefs: Maine Restaurant Week returns March 1-10 with new events

Benefit for MOFGA

Thursday, March 6 | 5-9 pm
Flatbread Company | 72 Commercial St. Portland | pay-as-you-go

Funky Bow Brewery and Beer Co., TigPro Metal Fabricators (who will be manufacturing the brewery’s new expansion equipment) the Gunther Brown Band and Flatbread have teamed up for a benefit for the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA). The celebration, which is also the announcement of the partnership between Funky Bow and TigPro, will include live music by the band and Gunther Brown Ale, made just for the band and this event. Five percent of the proceeds will be donated to MOFGA.

No Kid Hungry Dinner

Thursday, March 20 | 5:30-10 pm
Five-O Shore Road | 50 Shore Road, Ogunquit |$200
Now this is a big ticket item, but worth it, not only for the cause, but for what you get. Chef James Walter of Five-O, James Beard Award-winning Chef Rob Evans of Duckfat and Chef Derek Bissonette from the White Barn Inn will prepare a multi-course meal benefiting Share Our Strength Maine’s efforts to end childhood hunger in the state. The evening, which marks the first time these three chefs have collaborated, will include a cocktail reception, auction, and a seated dinner, paired with wines.

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