Port Townsend baker raises dough -- money kind -- for relief group
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In just four hours at his Port Townsend bakery on Sunday morning, Pane D'Amore founder Frank D'Amore reaped $12,000 for Doctors without Borders' relief work in Haiti. D'Amore is pictured here at his satellite bread shop in Sequim. -- Photo by Diane Urbani de la Paz/Peninsula Daily News

By Diane Urbani de la Paz
Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND -- The customer asked only for a loaf of seedy sourdough.

Receiving the bread, this person handed over a check for $500 -- and said keep the $495.01 in change.

It was an unusual Sunday morning communion at the Pane D'Amore -- bread of love -- bakery in uptown Port Townsend: A line of people streaming into the street, early risers buying bread and other goodies from local merchants and giving nearly $12,000 to one cause in four hours.

Here's how it came together.

Pane D'Amore owner Frank D'Amore decided late last week to have a little fundraiser for Doctors without Borders.

The organization, which won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1999, provides medical help to people in some 60 nations, including earthquake-devastated Haiti.

Right after a magnitude 7.0 quake hit the Caribbean island Jan. 12, D'Amore and Linda Yakush, his partner in life and in business, put a donation jar on the bakery counter.

In the next few days, the jar filled fast with cash and checks, so the pair made bigger plans.

They would donate all of last Sunday's sales from the shop at 617 Tyler St. to Doctors Without Borders, and invite neighboring businesses to contribute a little something in the form of gift certificates or baskets to be sold for donations that same day.

28 businesses help

Twenty-eight Port Townsend shops, restaurants and cafes stepped up, and when D'Amore opened his bakery at 8 a.m. Sunday, so did a determined horde.

"People were breaking our door down," he said.

Here, "word of mouth flies around town," so when locals learned they could buy their daily bread and support Doctors without Borders, they rose up.

"We doubled our production," after Glory Bee, his supplier based in Eugene, Ore., donated 500 pounds of flour.

Normally Pane D'Amore is open till 4 p.m. on Sundays, and "I was going to be in business all day."

"But we ran out," D'Amore said. "It was wild."

Money goes today

D'Amore plans to wire the $12,000 to Doctors without Borders this morning. Information about the organization's work is at www.DoctorswithoutBorders.org.

On Monday, though, the baker was still feeling a bit overwhelmed.

"I want the community to be proud of making it happen," D'Amore said.

His chef's hat is off to all of the donors: the bread buyers and the more than two dozen merchants who gave their best treats.

A sampling: Sweet Laurette's Cafe & Bistro, Elevated Ice Cream, Nifty 50s, the Salal Cafe, Aldrich's Market, Mount Townsend Creamery, the Public House and the Silverwater Cafe.

The Rose Theatre's gift was an unlimited, monthlong pass for two people to see as many movies as they like, with a large popcorn tossed in every time.

A donor wrote out a check for $150 for that pass, D'Amore reported.

"I wanted to give something that would raise some money," said Rose owner Rocky Friedman.

"I am appreciative of Frank and Linda for doing this, and for allowing me to be a part of it."

Both Friedman and D'Amore are longtime Port Townsend business people who have boosted many a fundraising effort.

$12,000 in a half-day

But D'Amore said he's never seen anything like what happened Sunday morning.

Reaping $12,000 in half a day "is a comment on how people feel about this event" -- the Haiti quake -- "and about the suffering there."

D'Amore also saluted Yakush, who "played a huge role" behind the scenes as the one who last week communicated his spontaneous notion to Port Townsend.

Staffers of Pane D'Amore, which also has a shop at 150 W. Washington St. in Sequim, also gave their time to help out on Sunday, D'Amore added.

"You can have a great idea, but it becomes real when the community buys into it," he said.

"I've been here forever -- more than half my life -- and this really did affect how I view this town."

________

Sequim-Dungeness Valley Reporter Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-681-2391 or at diane.urbani@peninsuladaily news.com.

Last modified: January 26. 2010 12:27AM
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