Original Q Shack holds fundraiser for NAMI Durham

Jan. 02, 2013 @ 07:22 PM

Diane Wright ate brisket for a cause on Wednesday.

The Durham resident was one of the supporters of a fundraiser held at The Original Q Shack on University Drive for the National Alliance on Mental Illness Durham. Dan Ferguson, the restaurant’s owner, said he decided to hold the fundraiser after watching the news unfold of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School and because of other mass killings.

“I want to make sure everyone in our community knows there are plenty of resources out there,” Ferguson said.

He’s a father of three children, ages 11, 9 and 6. He said in a news release that he feels for the parents of the 20 children who died in the shooting in Newtown, Conn. 

He said he wanted to raise awareness about the options that are available to families of people with mental illness.

He planned to donate 100 percent of the restaurant’s proceeds between 11 a.m. and 9 p.m. Wednesday to NAMI Durham.

He said one of the restaurant’s vendors, US Foods, gave a $1,000 food credit to help with the cost.

His goal was to raise $10,000. While he said he was about 40 percent to that goal by late afternoon, he was hoping that he’d be able to meet the goal with the dinner rush.

“We’ve done well over double what we do in a normal day,” Ferguson said, judging the volume of the restaurant’s business that he’d seen by late afternoon.

He said his brother Tom Ferguson, who owns Rise, the biscuit and donut restaurant in Durham, came to help with the fundraiser, and so did Tommy Bullock of Bullock’s Bar-Q-Cue.

David Smith, a Durham resident and the vice president of NAMI Durham, said that during the lunch rush, the lines were out the door.

“We’re very excited; this is going to be a big fundraiser for us,” Smith said.

The organization provides support, education and advocacy for people with mental illnesses, Smith said. They have classes for families of people with mental illness, he said, as well as peer-to-peer courses for people who have a mental illness, and support groups.

“It’s not all about guns,” said Dorothy Smith, president of NAMI Durham, commenting on the debate that has followed the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary.

Smith said there needs to be more awareness about treatment for mental illness.

“We know treatment works for mentally ill people, and keeps them stable if they stay on medication, and use their supports,” she said.

Betsy and Michael Phillips of Chatham County also supported the fundraiser on Wednesday. They’re friends of a member of a bluegrass band that plays at The Original Q Shack in Durham on Wednesdays.

“The 20 little children are gone. It’s just sad,” Betsy Phillips said.

Wright said she supported the fundraiser because she said she felt it was a good way to help NAMI Durham.

“In general, I think that it’s a shame that better health services are not available to people in the manner they need them,” she said. “It’s always delicious here,” she added, speaking of the barbecue restaurant.