25 Jan Benefit Raises $22,400 For Tsunami Relief
by Amy Oakes
Films from Thailand and India, local news clips about the recent tsunami disaster and a San Diegan who witnessed the tragedy made the San Diego Asian Film Foundation’s recent fundraiser a memorable event.
The fundraiser, held at the stylish Thin Room in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter on January 12, raised $22,400 for victims of the tsunami. The money will go to Direct Relief International, which passes 99 percent of donations to aid victims. The humanitarian organization was recently recognized by Forbes magazine as being one of the top U.S. charities in 2005.
“I was elated to see such a great turnout from the community,” said Don Chareunsy, president of the San Diego chapter of the Asian American Journalists Association, one of the event’s sponsors. “We are all affected by a disaster like this, and the right thing to do is to help out in any way we can.”
Chareunsy, who is part Thai and part Laotian, said he has family in Thailand but was fortunate that there were no deaths in his family from the tsunami disaster.
From 8 p.m. until midnight, people mingled, ate and drank. Two short documentaries from local filmmakers were shown as well as Ong Bak: Muay Thai Warrior, the feature presentation. The documentaries were Pyramid of Women by Cheryl Kanekar and Ma-Nang by Dawn Poomee.
Brandon Behle, who attended with his parents, was the special guest. The Rancho Bernardo man talked about being in Ko Phi Phi, Thailand when the tsunami struck.
The event also was sponsored by San Diego National Bank, the Asian Business Association, Union of Pan Asian Communities and the APIA Alliance. Food was donated by China Camp, Emerald Seafood Restaurant, Festivities Catering, Jasmine Seafood Restaurant, Tiki Hut, O’Hungry’s Restaurant, Saffron, Star of India and Yokozuna’s.
Thin donated 20 percent of bar sales and all of the money from sales of Singha beer.
Amy Oakes is a reporter for the San Diego Union-Tribune.
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