Cook’s Lobster & Ale House, located on Bailey Island, was once again host to the Lobstermen’s Relief Fund benefit in early September. In its fourth year, the benefit event raises money to help commercial lobstermen and their families who have experienced tragedy or hardship.
Owners Nick and Jen Charbonneau graciously donated 10% of all food items sold for the entire day. Event sponsor Geary Brewing donated a selection of beers, with every dollar of their special Cribstone Red Ale and their newly released Pulling Traps IPA going towards the Fund.
Three meal specials were offered throughout the day and, because the ingredients had been donated, 100% of the purchase price benefited the Fund. “We are incredibly grateful to the food vendors that made this day possible,” said Antonina Pelletier, Maine Lobstermen’s Community Alliance staff, who organized the Relief Fund benefit. “Our thanks go to Sysco Foods, Bow Street Market, Luke’s Lobster, Maine Shellfish and Our Farm, along with local lobsterman Willis Spear.” Specials included a shore dinner, haddock Florentine and an herb-baked chicken with a goat cheese fondue. Diners also had the option of drinks made with Tito’s Vodka, which for the entire weekend donated $1 for every drink made with their vodka. Homemade dessert options included an almond-apple pie or a chocolate peanut butter brownie; 100% of the purchase price went to the Relief Fund.
Meanwhile, diners and visitors to the bar were able to browse an all-day silent auction. Bidding was so competitive that the auction closing time was extended to give everyone a chance to bid. Among the items available were hotly-contested Tito’s Vodka copper mugs, a gift basket from the Maine Maritime Museum including a two-hour cruise aboard the schooner Mary E, a bundle of lobster-shack gift cards, a rocker made of lobster traps donated by Brooks Trap Mill, a gift basket from Coffee by Design, and an overnight at Sugarloaf Resort, donated by Shipyard Brewing.
The silent auction raised $3,000 for the fund with close to another $3,000 coming from food and drink sales. But even more exciting than the money raised was the enthusiasm expressed by participants in the event. “We had a remarkable turn out for a cause that is really important,” said Patrice McCarron, president of the MLCA. “Maine’s lobster fishery is made up of self-employed fishermen. If something happens, whether illness, accident or tragedy, it is important for them to know that they are not alone.”
The mission of the Maine Lobstermen’s Community Alliance, a non-profit organization committed to preserving Maine’s lobstering heritage, is to foster thriving fishing communities along the coast. When lobstermen can’t fish, it will affect not just their families but their community as well. The annual fundraising event at Cook’s Lobster & Ale House is just one way the MLCA raises funds for this vital program. Citizen Maine, a local clothing company based in Newcastle is currently offering 10% of their net profits to the Relief Fund this year. Cobalt Sky Studio, a homewares company known for brightly painted buoy pillows, remains a long-time supporter. For more information on the Relief Fund, please go to www.mlcalliance.org.