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The staff at Zephyr Pub have found their purpose in the Kent community beyond selling beer.
It started two years ago with a charity event for the Rotary Camp for Children with Special Needs.
"That's close to my heart," said Patty Restaine, Zephyr Pub's general manager of 16 years who now organizes charity events at the downtown bar once a month. "My son has autism. That means a lot to me. He goes to these camps."
With a surge of success at the Pub over the years, Restaine began working with breweries on events, such as Tap Takeover and Beer Olympics, to raise money for local nonprofits.
"Two years ago, I was like 'why are we just selling beer?'" Restaine said. "Over the years, this place has gotten successful. The drive for me for a long time was 'how do we make this bar successful?' and then all of a sudden is was, so then it was like 'what do we do now?'"
Last month Zephyr held the second annual Beer Olympics with Bell's Brewery, where teams competed in games like cornhole and connect four, and raised more than $1,000 for Freedom House in Kent.
"All of them are so fun for us and the people that come," said assistant manager Ashley Vogias who helps organize and does the chalkboard that advertises the events. "It makes me feel connected to my community. It's not just going to work. It's getting involved with your customers and helping where you live and work."
The staff will say "what can we do to help?' and share the events on Facebook to spread the word, Restaine said. The breweries "work really hard with us" to donate the raffle items and help plan the events.
"In the last six months, we've raised a lot of money. We try to keep it local. This is our community and we need to take care of each other. We've worked with over 1,000 charities."
For Restaine, the events are less about raising money and more about helping make the Kent community a better place.
"Our events raise $700, $1,000," Restaine said. "I don't think the number means that much. I think it's changing me and changing us into being more aware of our community."
Restaine recently toured Miller Community House, a homeless shelter in Kent, and is now planning a fundraising event for the shelter next month. So far this year, Zephyr held charity events for Kent Social Services, One of a Kind Pet Rescue, which was a dog-friendly event that raised $700 in May, and one for the special needs interventionists at Davey Elementary School, among others.
"My child is going into fifth grade at Davey and he has autism and all the interventionists there have worked so hard with him," Restaine said. "All the interventionists made a wish list and we raised money and got all the stuff they wanted."
In the future, Restaine and the Zephyr staff would like to volunteer at some of these organizations and work with downtown businesses on the events.
"You realize our community is made up of so many people and any of us can fall on hard times," Restaine said. "We become selfish and self-centered and I don't want to be that. Instead of focusing on these scary times and what the world is becoming, I don't want to complain I want to do something."
Her biggest takeaway is the overwhelming support from the staff and the community.
"The staff works hard at making things happen and the community backs us and wants to be there," Restaine said. "That in a sense surprised me, but also confirmed the reason I settled in this town a long time ago."