Golden Krust steps forward for breast cancer

All January, Golden Krust will wrap its chicken patties in pink paper, with a percentage of proceeds going to the National Breast Cancer Foundation. Why?

“Cancer is the one thing that’s touched every household,” Golden Krust’s Pauline Bennett-O’Leary said. “Whether you’re Caribbean or not, you’ve dealt with cancer. If it wasn’t your mother, it was your brother, your friend or your cousin.”

Golden Krust, a Caribbean food chain based in the Bronx, operates 120 stores in nine states, dishing out curried goat, duck bread and jerk fish. Hawthorne, who emigrated from Jamaica in 1981, opened his first storefront on Gun Hill Road, in 1989.

In 2005, Hawthorne founded a charity, the Golden Krust Foundation. The foundation grants college scholarships and packs medical supplies to the Caribbean. For Golden Krust, however, a high-profile philanthropic promotion is something new.

“We’ve never done anything on this scale before,” said Bennett-O’Leary, referring to the pink patty promotion. “We want to sell a lot of chicken patties. We want to present the National Breast Cancer Foundation with a decent donation.”

A former Bronx community college student, Hawthorne took Jamaican food mainstream in 1996, when Golden Krust was granted a franchise license. The Bronx boasts 25 stores; beef patties are Golden Krust’s top-seller. Hawthorne lost his mother to cancer.

Golden Krust, Bennett-O’Leary said, is particularly active in the borough’s African-American and Caribbean communities.

“A lot of African-Americans fall victim to breast cancer,” said Golden Krust’s Candice Richards. “We need to spread the word, and preach early detection.”

Richards and Bennett-O’Leary will host launch the breast cancer benefit from NYC’s Jamaican consulate Thursday, January 8.

“What I’ve found is, people don’t like to talk about breast cancer,” Bennett-O’Leary said. “Not even survivors. I hoping that by embracing the topic we’ll further discussion.”

The National Breast Cancer Foundation funds mammogram programs throughout the United States. Its main sources of revenue: donations and commercial promotions.

“We let businesses use our name and pink ribbon logo,” said Brent Hail, the foundation’s vice president. “In this case, Golden Krust approached us.”

Bennett-O’Leary hopes the chain’s loyal customers will “eat for the cause” this month. On January 10, Golden Krust will throw five NYC breast cancer awareness parties – one per borough.

“Stop by for free cocktail sized patties,” Bennett-O’Leary said.

The National Breast Cancer Foundation is based near Dallas, Texas – no Bronx when it comes to island cuisine.

“We’re eagerly awaiting Golden Krust samples,” Hail said.

Golden Krust

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