Herald-Sun editorial: Effort raises money, awareness for a cause

Jan. 03, 2013 @ 05:33 PM

We are justifiably proud around here about our diverse and excellent cuisine. Durham must have the greatest collection of restaurants of all types and price level of any city its size – and if any out-of-towners disagree, we’d offer to go head-to-head with any municipalities who offer a challenge.

So when The Original Q Shack planned a fundraiser for the National Alliance on Mental Illness Durham, it sounded like a winner. And tasted like a winner, if you will.

The Original Q Shack raised money for NAMI on Wednesday to the tune of $10,000, a terrific total for a very worthy cause. Owner Dan Ferguson said that inspiration for the fundraiser came after he watched coverage of the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Connecticut, and similar incidents. “I want to make sure everyone in our community knows there are plenty of resources out there,” Ferguson said.

Ferguson’s brother, Tom Ferguson, who owns Rise, a biscuit and donut restaurant in Durham, and Tommy Bullock, of Bullock’s Bar-B-Que in Durham, helped out with the fundraiser – a nice culinary collaboration. A vendor, US Foods, offered a $1,000 food credit, too.

Dan Ferguson said that business was double that of a typical day at The Original Q Shack. One hundred percent of the proceeds between 11 a.m. and 9 p.m. on Wednesday went to benefit NAMI.

NAMI Durham offers support to families dealing with mental illness, provides information about the mental health care system, and provides a helpline, support meetings and other resources.

Dorothy Smith, president of NAMI Durham, said that access to mental health care and awareness of mental illness are vital. “It’s not all about guns,” she said of violent incidents such as what happened at Sandy Hook. “We know treatment works for mentally ill people, and keeps them stable if they stay on medication, and use their supports,” she said.

The organizers of the fundraiser, and the many, many people who helped out by visiting The Original Q Shack for a meal on Wednesday, showed that they consider NAMI’s work to be important, too.