by Jamie Salen The Pineapple Staff Writer
“If service is the rent you pay for your existence o”n this earth, are you behind in your rent? -Robert G. Allen By Robert Allen’s standards, Pasqual Ranich, owner of the Hurricane Bar & Lounge, a local watering hole just off East Atlantic Avenue in downtown Delray Beach, is anything but behind on his rent.
As a staple in the community for 31 years, Pasqual began his love affair with Delray Beach the day his grumbling tummy led him off of highway 95 and into Boston’s on The Beach for what was supposed to be a quick bite to eat on his way to the Keys. Within an hour he was offered a job at the popular beachfront hangout, which he immediately accepted. “I never looked back,” Pasqual simply explains. During his long career as beloved bartender and manager at Boston’s, Pasqual saw Delray Beach transformed from a small undeveloped town into a thriving tourist destination. Today, as a business owner himself, he recognizes the importance of keeping the community spirit alive in Delray Beach. “We all have something to offer the community. Some might have money to give. Some have a service to donate. Some might just have a couple hours of their time to offer. What I have is the Hurricane Bar & Lounge, so that is what I contribute,” says Pasqual. “Contribute” seems an understatement when you take a look at the long list of caus- es Pasqual has supported. The Hurricane Bar & Lounge has become a big part of the solution to a widespread problem of need. From healthcare to homelessness and education, Pasqual addresses universal problems on a community level. “We hear in the news every day that the rising cost of healthcare has become a crippling problem for many, but what we rarely hear is how this problem has affected the family living next door to us,” explains Pasqual.
“We may not be able to solve the national health crisis in my corner bar, but with a little bit of charity we can ensure the woman who lives next door to us can have her kidney transplant,” he adds. “Support Our Lisa’s Kidney Transplant Fund” began with a pair of best friends, both named Lisa, who were lucky enough to be an exact match when one suddenly needed a new kidney. While a transplant would initially save Lisa’s life, she would also need $1,500 a month in order to purchase the lifesaving medicine not covered by her insurance company. The event held at The Hurricane raised enough money to cover her annual medical costs.
“Big Mama Essie Reeds Team of Life” is another perfect example of a worldwide crisis being fought on a community level. When Pasqual was introduced to the one-woman charity powerhouse that had taken on the problem of poverty in his area, he knew he had to help. Mama Reed, a struggling local mother who had dedicated herself to feeding the poor and offering her time to at-risk children, presented a perfect opportunity for a fundraising event at the Hurricane. Pasqual and his patrons came together to support events, raffles and gift certificates all in the name of Big Mamma. “The causes I choose to support have a common thread of community. There are amazing people doing amazing things right under our noses every day,” says Pasqual.
“Sisters of Sunshine” is another prime exam- ple of the type of grass-roots fundraising Pasqual favors. The group recently held a series of 40 benefits, each in the name of a different educational group in the area. The Hurricane Bar and Lounge was a major part of “Kickin it for the Kids,” a kick- ball tournament designed to raise money for local education programming. Habitat for Humanity, Karen Slattery Education Research Center and Delray Citizens for Delray Police are just another handful of causes adopted by Pasqual and the Hurricane Bar and Lounge in the last year. Pasqual and his service in the community represent an important trend in philanthropy. It has not been easy for small businesses anywhere in recent years and often times, struggle breeds isolationism. What we can learn is to take a step back and see what we as business leaders can do to help our community. In the end, every step we take to help another is a step we take toward each other, and there has always been power in unity. For more information on the charities named in this article contact Pasqual Ranich at the Hurricane Bar and Lounge 561-278- 0282. www.hurricanelounge.com