MILWAUKEE - One of Milwaukee's largest, privately owned restaurant groups is giving every penny earned Tuesday to help Ukraine.
The COVID-19 pandemic took a toll on places like Fiesta Café, but the owners said they are willing to part with profits if it will help those escaping the horrors of war.
"Any time that we are able to be part of something that contributes to a good cause and what is happening is – makes lunch even better," said customer Francisca Vergara.
One hundred percent of Tuesday's profits will be donated to the Red Cross for humanitarian aid in Ukraine – not just from Fiesta Café, but from seven area Girabaldi Restaurant Group locations.
"I’m sure that everybody feels helpless. Everybody would like to do something," said Harvey Goldstein, a spokesman for the group.
Goldstein said it comes at a time when his businesses are still recovering from the pandemic.
"At some point in time, you have to do something. You have to take a stand. If it’s going to hurt, it’s going to hurt – but you have to take a stand," he said.
There are daily reminders of why that's so important. As customer Zach Starnes paid his bill, he was happy to pay it forward.
"Schools or day cares – these innocent lives are being impacted in a war-torn place," said Starnes. "In the U.S., you feel so incredibly blessed – blessed in every way of our lives."
Destruction in Ukraine amid Russian invasion
The owners would not speculate on how much was raised or how much the fundraiser will have cost them. Garibaldi Restaurant Group owns the following restaurants:
- Fiesta Café, 1407 S. 1st St., Milwaukee
- Fiesta Café West, 3812 W. Greenfield Ave., West Milwaukee
- Mesa Garibaldi, 821 W. Lincoln Ave., Milwaukee
- Forest Home Chicken Palace, 1927 W. Forest Home Ave., Milwaukee
- National Ave. Chicken Palace, 3433 W. National Ave., Milwaukee
- Chicken Palace of Waukesha, 435 W. Sunset Dr., Waukesha
- Chicken Palace of Kenosha, 3907 52nd St., Kenosha