Wisconsin Restaurant Association officers and staff will present over $100,000 in donations to the New York State Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Employee Disaster Fund in New York City Nov. 6 and 7.

Wisconsin restaurants and industry suppliers spent September and October collecting donations for the fund, developed by the New York State Restaurant Association to aid families of hospitality workers left in need. The fund drive peaked Oct. 11, designated “Dine for America Day.”

The Wisconsin Restaurant Association greatly exceeded its expectations.

“We started with a donation from the Wisconsin Restaurant Association in the amount of $5,000,” Ed Lump, president and CEO of the Wisconsin Restaurant Association said in a statement. “We are so pleased to have raised over 20 times that amount with the help of our members.”

Checks have poured into the Madison office of the Wisconsin Restaurant Association for weeks. Each check was accompanied with a handwritten note.

“Our restaurants were proud to be a part of Dine for America,” one note from a Milwaukee restaurant said.

Marsh Shapiro’s Nitty Gritty restaurant, 223 N. Frances St., raised approximately $5,000 from patrons and about $2,500 from staff tips in their own fundraiser, waitstaff manager Tammy Lachman said.

Members of the Wisconsin Restaurant Association said they were honored to be involved in the Dine for America project.

“When our board of directors discussed how to help the victims of Sept. 11, they immediately focused on the New York Restaurant Employees Disaster Fund,” Lump said. “Restaurant owners and staff felt a strong kinship with their colleagues in New York, knowing that in most cases pensions and other provisions would not be an option for these families.”

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