Matcha Time Cafe employee relief


On the night of Saturday, July 30, 2016, Old Ellicott City was decimated by a violent flash flood dumping more than 6 inches of rain in under 2 hours.  The result was the partial or nearly total destruction of the vast majority of “Main St.” and the complete loss of so many businesses and residences.

Matcha Time Cafe is an authentic Japanese tea & sushi cafe and gift shop in Old Ellicott City, Maryland.  The cafe is owned and operated by Hatsumi Watanabe-Smith and opened its doors in June, 2013.  Since opening, the cafe has been frequented by a wide demographic of customers from all over Central Maryland, DC, Northern Virginia, and Southern Pennsylvania.  On any given day, people of all races and age groups gather in the relaxing atmosphere to enjoy friendly service and great food & tea, and browse the gift shop filled with a broad range of Japanese items, which are difficult to find outside of Japan.

The cafe was mostly spared with losses as a result of lost food, equipment that requires complete breakdown and service, and of course, business; however, our dedicated and heroic staff were not as lucky.  Two staff members suffered the total loss of their cars, and another’s much damage.  Staff member Kenneth Lorena, graciously moved Hatsumi’s car to safety and lost his own, purchased only 3 months ago. His insurance coverage will not even pay off the loan.

As the days, weeks and likely months go by, before any business can return to our doors, the  losses mount with food expiring and having to be thrown away, our valuable staff forced to find other employment, and the bills continuing.

We really tried to avoid asking for help, but it has become clear that we can’t do this without it.  So, like so many others in our wonderful town, we are reaching out to our friends and faithful customer base.  Our plans for funds from generous donors will be to prioritize our employee’s losses, then cover our expenses only.  Any donations in excess of these actual needs will be sent to the larger fund for the rest of our town’s recovery efforts.

Organizer and beneficiary

Hatsumi Watanabe-Smith 
Organizer
Ellicott City, MD
Hatsumi Watanabe-Smith 
Beneficiary

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