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'We want to stand up for it': St. Louis restaurants come together for Domestic Violence Awareness Month

The "Love to Eat, Eat to Love" fundraiser is a city-wide fundraiser that will last all month long.

ST. LOUIS — Saturday, Oct. 1, starts the official kickoff to Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

After recent events in the St. Louis restaurant industry, businesses are coming together to raise money for local organizations.

Just last week the co-owner of modern Asian restaurant "Sno" in Tower Grove South was charged with domestic assault.

The organizer of the "Love to Eat, Eat to Love" fundraiser, Angela Ortmann, said this incident brought the importance of the fundraiser into a bigger light.

"We want to speak about it, we want to stand up for it, but we also want to be productive in our actions," she said.

That's exactly what the St. Louis restaurant community is doing throughout October, as they raise awareness for National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Ortmann said it's a way for them to come together, help the community and make a statement. 

"I think that domestic violence is just something that has touched all of us in some way, whether it's personally, family, friends," she said.

Restaurant owners can choose what local organizations they want to give a portion of their proceeds to and how they want to fundraise. 

According to Ortmann, that can be anything from a weekly event to one weekend out of the month to a special menu item. 

"Some are doing like every 'Taco Tuesday', or picking a weekend out of the month or doing special happy hours, so it's really flexible, not only for the business owners but also for the community to get involved because you could have such a variety of ways to choose to participate," she said.

As soon as Ortmann reached out to restaurant owners about the fundraiser, dozens opted-in, in a matter of hours.

"I think that you know, however much money we raise will be exciting no matter what, but to have this many people on board, I really feel like we're gonna make a big impact, and that just makes my heart so happy," she said.

Nudo House STL is just one of the hundreds of restaurants that have already signed up to participate this month and that list continues to grow day by day.

Partner of Nudo House STL, Marie-Anne Velasco, said they were immediately on board.

"Anything that we could do for the community, and honestly, just our friends and family to help abuse victims," she said.

Velasco said she hopes this gives people a sense of community and direction.

"We are family and want to help each other out," she said.

Organizers and participants hope this will not only raise money for important organizations in our community but also, raise awareness of what resources are out there.

"We want to create, you know, a place and a way for people to safely look for options if they're dealing with something like this," Ortmann said.

The "Love to Eat, Eat to Love" fundraiser lasts all month long. 

You can find a full list of participating restaurants and details here.

Resources for those experiencing domestic violence

If you or someone you know needs help, you can call the Safe Connections Crisis Helpline at 314-531-2003. You can also text that number from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, free of charge.

Alternatives to Living In Violent Environments also has a crisis line at 314-993-2777. ALIVE also has hotline specifically for those in Franklin County at 800-941-9144.

The Women's Safe House can be reached 24 hours a day at 314-772-4535.

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