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AIR Seeks Support With New AIRfriends Campaign

For more than 18 years, the Asheville Independent Restaurant (AIR) Association has faithfully supported the city’s culinary community through advocacy, education, and, most recently, connection to crucial resources during COVID-19. Now AIR is reaching out for a little help from friends of the restaurants we all know and love with the launch of AIRfriends, its first-ever fundraising campaign.

Presented by BB Barns, AIRfriends is a brand-new giving campaign designed to support the AIR in its mission to sustain, elevate and advocate for the city’s dynamic community of chefs and restaurants.

In recent months, AIR’s board of directors responded to the COVID-19 pandemic with the difficult decision to forgo the organization’s two largest annual fundraisers: the 2021 AIR Passport and the 2020 Taste of Asheville event.

Because AIR cares deeply about the safety of Asheville diners and the well-being of its member restaurants, it saw no other options. But the loss of revenue from these efforts has seriously jeopardized the organization’s financial stability at a time when its nonstop work advocating and linking to information and resources for the industry is more vital than ever, says Michel Baudouin, AIR co-founder and Bouchon and RendezVous owner.

“It’s one of those organizations that flies under the radar but does so much,” says Baudouin. “What restaurants are trying to do right now is just stay in business, and this winter especially is a very scary period for us. AIR has never been as important as it is right now, because our members desperately need the help.”

Contributing to AIRfriends is an easy way to help ensure the well-being of Asheville’s vibrant, dynamic food scene during a time when restaurants across the nation are struggling to survive. Donations of any amount will help support AIR’s pivotal work to keep Asheville’s beloved independent restaurants open and thriving.

For more details about AIR and the AIRfriends initiative, visit

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