Gigi’s disaster fund passes halfway mark in two days


BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – The “City of Good Neighbors” is once again coming together to help out a landmark restaurant, after Gigi’s soul food kitchen was heavily damaged by a grease fire over the weekend.

The popular East Side restaurant is known for its great food and welcoming atmosphere, but smoke stained charred remains are all that are left of the interior, where for 55 years, the Harvin family has been feeding folks from near and far–39 of those years at its present location on Ferry Street.

Pastor Gloria Caver Robinson was among the many people grabbing a meal at the “Bread of Heaven” food truck, donated by True Bethel Baptist Church for three days, with all proceeds going to help Gigi’s rebuild.

Robinson recalls relatives coming from all over the country, and Canada, to feast on Gigi’s tasty offerings.

“They came all the way from Alabama, Florida, and California to come to Gigi’s.”

The meals are free but just about everyone left a donation to help get Gigi’s back on its feet. Don Allen, Jr. is taking time off from work to help on the food truck.

“I have seen the community come out and show their support. They have donated, they came out and they have actually sat and ate, and spoke with Gigi, and gave her words of encouragement–especially through this time, this season.”

Rochester Davis’ sister is Gigi’s owner Blondine Harvin’s, and he owns a part interest in the eatery. Davis said the family has been blown away by the outpouring of support from the community.

“It’s been awesome. The response from the people, it has brought a chill to me. It has shown me that people do–in the community–care about us.”

Davis has been working the business side of the disaster—insurance, contacting suppliers—and said everyone is trying to help.

“When you do good things good things happen to you. Sure we have had a setback, but this setback is not going to stop us from doing what we have been doing for 55 years.”

Rev. Darius Pridgen, the pastor at True Bethel Baptist Church set up a GoFundMe.com campaign to help Gigi’s and her 12 employees, who have suddenly found themselves out of work.

The goal of the fund is to reach $12,000 in 30 days, but as of Monday evening, the account had already surpassed $6,000–in just two days.

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