Charm City Cakes, owned by Food Network television star Duff Goldman, is helping students at the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing raise money for Hurricane Katrina relief. At a Creole Charity Gala held on January 31, the students raised more than $5,000 from ticket sales and a silent auction.
"We actually made more money than we need for our service trip, so we'll be looking at ways to donate the extra to New Orleans charities," said senior Tal Raizer, one of this years trip organizers, who was overwhelmed by the gala's success. "And, it was a great excuse to eat a lot of fried food and listen to some jazz."
The fundraiser was made possible by Jessica Curry, a junior at the nursing school, who was the financial director for Charm City Cakes for the past five years. Now a full-time nursing student, Curry still works part-time at the bakery. When the New Orleans volunteers needed to hold a fundraiser, she immediately went to the store owner, Duff Goldman.
"He's always so busy, and often off traveling, but he thought it sounded great and told us to go for it," she says. Geof Manthorne, the bakery's executive sous chef, designed the meal and cake for the gala of 50 people.
"It was great to have my coworkers jump in, get involved in their community, and bridge these two worlds I live in," says Curry.
The Hopkins nursing students will spend spring break week rebuilding homes destroyed during Hurricane Katrina, volunteering in an emergency room and a health clinic for the homeless, and touring the city. This is the fifth year that students have organized a spring break service trip to New Orleans.
"We have a limited attention span when it comes to natural disasters, but there are still a lot of New Orleans communities that are in need and have limited resources," says Curry. "But I love the culture there. It's like no other place in America."