If it’s September, it must be time for the annual Lobstermen’s Relief Fund Benefit, hosted by Cook’s Lobster & Ale House on Bailey Island! The benefit will run from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 6.
The event raises money for the Relief Fund, part of the Maine Lobstermen’s Community Alliance (MLCA), a nonprofit organization whose mission is to foster thriving coastal communities and preserve Maine’s lobstering heritage. Fishing is the most dangerous occupation nationwide, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. “The Lobstermen’s Relief Fund is there to help the families and children of commercial lobstermen,” explained Patrice McCarron, president of the MLCA. “It’s important to have a resource to turn to when tragedy or hardship strike.”
Now in its fourth year, the daylong event will focus on dishes made with local foods donated by area providers. Chef JP DuBois will design three daily specials based on such items as lobster, haddock, fresh corn and salad greens. Chef DuBois is renowned for his creative takes on Maine’s seasonal foods, enhancing entrees such as Beef Wellington and Stuffed Clams with his signature flair. A squad of Portland-area amateur chefs will provide the desserts, including ever-popular blueberry pie.
The Lobstermen’s Relief Fund Benefit was created by Jen and Nick Charbonneau, owners of Cook’s Lobster & Ale House. Moved by the 2016 death of young lobsterman Jon Popham, the Charbonneaus offered to host an event where 10% of the sale of all food would be donated to the Lobstermen’s Relief Fund. Mary Coombs, the restaurant’s former general manager, arranged a silent auction and a tradition was born.
With support from Maine businesses like Sysco and Downeast Magazine, the event has reached the attention of companies like Tito’s Vodka and private donors from as far away as Pennsylvania. Geary Brewing Company will be sponsoring the event again, as they have done in the past, and offering their new IPA called “Pulling Traps” along with other ales. One hundred percent of the purchase price of a Geary’s beer will go to the Relief Fund while Titos’ Vodka has pledged $1 from every drink made with Tito’s. Other Maine companies, such as Bow Street Market and Our Farm, are contributing to the day’s daily specials, with 100% of their purchase price to benefit the Relief Fund.
“Cook’s Lobster & Ale House deck looks out over the water and offers an excellent way to while away the time while supporting an important cause,” said Andi Pelletier of the MLCA, who is coordinating the event. In addition to ambiance and good food, customers can also participate in the silent auction featuring items donated by local Maine craftsmen as well as gift certificates for jewelry, lobster, coffee, pizza, overnight stays and other adventures.
The Lobstermen’s Relief Fund benefits commercial lobstermen, their families and children who have been affected by tragedy or loss. The program offers cash assistance as needed on a case-by-case basis, and also works to connect those in need with resources in their community. Donations to the Fund are accepted year-round. More information is available at www.mlcalliance.org