Owner of Herringbone, Burlap, Gingham Chain Seeks $500,000 for Sandy Relief

File photo of restaurateurs James Brennan (right) and chef Brian Malarkey.

Updated at 5:20 p.m. Oct. 31, 2012

The owner of the restaurant chain that includes Herringbone in La Jolla, Burlap in Del Mar Heights and Gingham in La Mesa plans to donate profits from Wednesday and Friday night’s business this week to Sandy disaster relief.

According to a U-T San Diego, James Brennan grew up in the hard-hit Rockaway neighborhood of Queens, New York City, and has set up the Rockaway Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund, “to provide water, generators and other necessities to that area.”

Brennan operates the Stingaree in the Gaslamp and five restaurants with chef Brian Malarkey.

“We expect to get six figures,” Brennan was quoted as saying. “My goal is to raise half a million dollars.”

Meanwhile, San Diego Gas & Electric Co. said it was sending 40 employees east, and the U.S. Forest Service announced its was sending 40 local members of its “Hotshot” teams east.

Brennan told the U-T: “It’s a war zone out there,” referring to the fire damage as well as flooding. “The local grammar school and church, St. Frances de Sales — what I hear it’s burned to the ground. … Between Breezy Point and Rockaway, they must have lost between 150 to 200 homes.”

According to the chain’s Facebook postings: “100% of proceeds made both tonight, and Friday, November 2nd at Gingham, Gabardine, Searsucker, Burlap, Herringbone, Searsucker Scottsdale and Stingaree will go to the Rockaway Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund, supporting victims in the devastated hometown of our very own James Brennan, Shane Brennan & Demien Farrell.”

The post said almost all homes in Rockaway and neighboring Breezy Point have been affected by fire, flooding and power outages.

“If you are unable to dine or drink with us on either of those nights but still wish to show support, donations can be made here by entering ‘Rockaway Hurricane’ in the section titled ‘In Honor Of.’ We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for any support you can provide.”

Two employees of the American Red Cross chapter in San Diego are helping to coordinate relief efforts on the East Coast in the wake of Sandy.

One of the local Red Cross workers was in New York and the other, Teri Klemchuk, was in Delaware and preparing to be redeployed to New Jersey, said Courtney Pendleton of the San Diego Red Cross chapter Tuesday.

Klemchuk told City News Service by phone that, as a California native, it was her first hurricane.

“It was very windy,” Klemchuk said about the weather conditions when the storm hit. “The rain didn’t feel too hard, but the wind, combined with the rain, it was very hard.”

Klemchuk said the howl of the wind and pounding of the rain could be heard during the night inside a Red Cross shelter at Cape Henlopen High School in Lewes, Del., where about 200 people spent the night.

“You don’t know what to expect,” Klemchuk said. She hastened to add that the agency was careful in selecting shelter locations, and that they were safe.

According to Pendleton, 11,000 people spent Monday night in 300 shelters in the northeast.

Prospective relief workers are standing by in San Diego while the Red Cross calls in help from closer to the damaged zone.

“We’ve got folks on deck” who should leave later this week, Pendleton said.

Help also is coming from people such as Ramona Senior Center Executive Director Ray Cardona, an on-call logistics officer for the Natural Disaster Medical Services—part of the Department of Homeland Security and Heath and Human Services

Cardona’s team of 40 might go in and replace the current relief effort team on site, but they could also establish its own trauma center.

“Things are going to hell in a hand basket real quick,” Cardona told Ramona Patch. “It looks like we’ll probably be establishing our own trauma center. … It’s going to probably be the worst one I’ve ever been on. Even more than Katrina. It sounds pretty bad.” 

On Wednesday afternoon, SDG&E announced that about 40 of its employees would head east Thursday morning to help local New York utility Consolidated Edison with repairs to overhead power lines damaged by Sandy.  

“The crews will depart Thursday morning on a direct military flight to Fort Nix, New Jersey,” said a statement. “Crews will be helping Con Edison with repairs to the overhead electrical distribution system, replacing poles and restringing wire in communities throughout the New York City area.  SDG&E crews were previously scheduled to leave Friday but are happy to have the opportunity to get there and contribute sooner.”

The utility said employees include six five-person line crews, two mechanics and 10 various supervisors and coordinators from SDG&E’s construction and operation centers throughout San Diego and southern Orange counties.

The San Diego and Imperial Counties chapter of the American Red Cross also said it will deploy six additional disaster workers to the East Coast.

The extra help will bring to eight the number of local Red Cross workers in New Jersey and New York, the charity said Thursday. The first two were deployed over the weekend, before the storm made landfall Monday night near Atlantic City.

Sandy killed more than 60 people, caused widespread damage, disrupted transportation systems and left millions without power.

A group of 40 highly trained federal fire-rescue personnel from the San Diego area joined 60 fellow emergency-services specialists Wednesday in heading to the East Coast to aid in recovery efforts.

The two 20-person U.S. Forest Service “Hotshot” teams assigned to the Laguna and Palomar areas of Cleveland National Forest were part of the first major mobilization of California fire resources dispatched to the scene of the disastrous storm.

Forest Service spokesman Stanton Florea said the 100 elite Golden State firefighters took a chartered flight out of Ontario, departing shortly before 10:30 a.m. They will initially be stationed at a mobilization center in East

Farmingdale on Long Island, NY, and at a National Guard training center in Annville, PA, and likely will take part in the recovery effort for two to four

In responding to hurricanes, fire-rescue crews typically perform such tasks as clearing downed trees from roads, assisting at logistics facilities that provide water and other vital services, providing communications equipment to local emergency-response agencies and lending command and control support for local public-safety personnel, according to Florea.

In addition to the San Diego area, Hotshots squads are assigned to Sequoia National Forest in the southern Sierra area and Los Padres National
Forest in the Santa Barbara and Central Coast regions.

Under the National Response Framework, the U.S. Forest Service provides firefighting assets to respond to hurricanes and other emergency incidents. The Hotshot crews that mobilized Wednesday received their call-out via the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Florea said.

The Red Cross said more than 9,000 people spent Tuesday night in 171 shelters in 13 states. The agency has already served more than 100,800 meals and snacks, and mobilized more than 2,300 disaster workers and almost 200 emergency vehicles.

To help, the Red Cross encourages donations at redcross.org, 1-800-REDCROSS (800-733-2767), or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Contributions can also be mailed to the Red Cross chapter, 3950 Calle Fortunada, San Diego, CA 92123.

The agency also encourages San Diegans to donate blood.

—City News Service contributed to this report.