After a fire ravaged a house near Cambridge’s Inman Square, claiming the life of one of the residents and leaving others without a home, bartenders and servers from Bukowski Tavern felt compelled to do something in order to help out.
“The fire is about two blocks from our doorstep, and we all heard about it. One of our regulars was thinking about a fundraiser event, and he was talking about doing something, and we started shooting some ideas back and forth,” said Bukowski’s bar manager, Justin Lipata.
Instead of going through a fundraiser like the Red Cross, Lipata and Dana Bein, a member of the comedy troupe behind ImprovBoston, which isn’t far from where the three-alarm Prospect Street fire destroyed the home on February 12, decided to raise money through tips earned behind the taps to give directly to the victims. Bein held a separate fundraiser during one of ImprovBoston’s shows on February 16.
“I thought it would be a great idea if we just did a fundraiser at our bar. People can come in and have a beer, give some money, or just drop off money. I’ll be behind the bar, so everything I get tip-wise will go right to victims,” Lipata said.
Last week’s blaze, which started on the second floor of the apartment building before spreading to the third floor and engulfing the house in flames, caused roughly $700,000 in damage and left at least seven residents without a place to stay. It also claimed the life of a woman in her 30s living in the complex, and damaged a house adjacent to where the fire started.
Although Lipita said he doesn’t know any of the victims impacted by the fatal fire, he felt that because Bukowski Tavern is a neighborhood bar, the least they could do is try and lend a hand. “There are so many great people that walk into our door. We felt why not provide this, why not do this? That’s what we are kind of doing this for,” he said.
From 6 p.m. Wednesday, February 19, until closing time, at 1 a.m., Lipita will be giving all of his earned tips to the victims. He said servers at the bar are also giving a portion of what they make to the cause, and the owners of Bukowski Tavern will be chipping in an undisclosed amount.
Lipita isn’t sure if any of the people left homeless by the fire will attend, but said Bein has been in contact with some of them, to let them know they are holding the event. Lipita said based on the feedback the Tavern has been getting on both Facebook and Twitter, He expects that it will be a busy night behind the bar.
“Anything would benefit these people,” he said. “And we are just trying to help.”
Source URL: https://www.bostonmagazine.com/news/2014/02/18/bukowski-tavern-cambridge-fire-fundraiser/
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