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Posted: February 14, 2010 12:30 a.m.

Local restaurants pool for InVEST fund

Restaurant Owners Alliance plan to donate through Feb.

Local restaurant owners are inviting businesses and individuals from across the county to join them in collecting the remaining $35,000 to reach the $113,000 goal of the InVEST in the NCSO campaign.

Despite surviving on shoestring budgets, members of the Restaurant Owners Alliance are planning to donate a portion of their proceeds during the last week of February and first week of March.

Debbie Cussen, owner of Debbie’s Deli and Café, said the pace of donations to the InVEST fund has slowed recently, and the owners hope they can garner enough support to close the gap.

"We’re encouraging as many people to donate as possible. These deputies do so much for us and they need these bulletproof vests," Cussen said.

Over the past month, slightly more than $6,000 has been donated, and the total stood at $77,653.38 as of Friday.

Beginning Feb. 22, each restaurant will pick one day during the following two weeks during which they’ll donate a portion of their proceeds. Cussen said the plan is to have two restaurants participating each day, as well as businesses in other fields.

"You don’t have to be a member of the ROA, a restaurant or even a business. We’re inviting anyone who wants to help," she said. "We want to take of our local people."

In addition, the owners will have donation containers for customers who want to donate directly to the InVEST fund.

Currently, Debbie’s Deli, Bangkok Grill, Hard Luck Café, Luigi’s Pizza, Pacho’s Mexican Grill and Stevie B’s Pizza are participating, but Cussen said she hopes others will join. To participate in the program businesses can call Cussen at (770) 385-1373.

A schedule of the participating restaurants and their donation days will be published before Feb. 22.

At the end of each day the owners will place their donations in the Sheriff’s Vest Fund, which Cussen has set up at People’s Bank of Covington with the help of Vice President Francis Redick.

Businesses and individuals can also donate directly to that fund by sending a check to P.O. Box 1805, Covington or visiting the bank at 6124 Highway 278, Covington.

Cussen said she and others will be donating around 10 percent of their proceeds for their specific day, but any donation is welcome no matter how small or large.

After the first week of March, Cussen will present the total donation to the Newton County Sheriff’s Office.

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