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Party raises Haiti relief cash

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Long after many shops shut their doors in the face of last week’s snowstorm, customers at one Kew Gardens restaurant thumbed their noses at the slippery streets and danced the night away at a fund-raiser for Haiti.

“This is a much better turnout than we thought there would be,” said Mandy Gor, a Kew Gardens resident who helped to organize last Thursday night’s event at Mood Restaurant and Lounge to raise money for Haitian relief efforts.

More than 60 people attended the event that ran past midnight and raised funds for a weeklong trip to Haiti by Gor and 14 others, who left Sunday. The individuals on the trip are part of Edeyo, a nonprofit that in 2007 opened a school in Bel Air, one of the poorest parts of Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince.

They will provide medical support and distribute items like food and water to Haitians, including students at the school supported by Edeyo. To date, Kew Gardens resident Kevin Jamison, who also left for Haiti Sunday, said they had located 188 of the 250 students at the primary school and had confirmed 10 pupils died in the Jan. 12 earthquake that killed an estimated 250,000 people.

“We wanted to do this because we felt there were so many other fund-raisers going on in other boroughs but not much here,” said Carol Lacks, a Kew Gardens resident who helped put together the party at Mood that included live music and a raffle. “%u2026 By doing this we feel part of the world effort to help Haiti.”

Gor and Jamison traveled together as part of another Edeyo trip to Haiti in October, and they said they began planning their trip to the Caribbean nation upon hearing news of the earthquake.

Just hours after the quake struck, Gor said she, Jamison and other Edeyo members had “put together a team of people to go to Haiti, and by the end of the week we’d had one fund-raiser for Edeyo.”

Those at Mood last week spent their evening munching on appetizers and purchasing raffle tickets for items like restaurant gift certificates, movie passes to Kew Gardens Cinema, art posters and a Wyclef Jean CD.

“It’s devastating what happened in Haiti, and we wanted to help,” said Moe Ahmed, who co-owns Mood along with his business partner Martin Forde. “One of my dearest friends lost family there.”

Aaron Adler, known as the unofficial mayor of Kew Gardens, organized several musicians — including a jazz singer and guitarists — to perform for free during the course of the evening.

“My main hope is the money gets to the people over there,” said Adler, who once played the clarinet in the Laurelton Symphony.

For more information about Edeyo, visit edeyo.org.

Reach reporter Anna Gustafson by e-mail at agustafson@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4574.

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