Food is the universal language that brings people together.
That sentiment could not ring more true for Amatrice, the hardest-hit town at the epicenter of the earthquake that shook central Italy this week.
The small town, which lies 65 miles from Rome in the Appenine Mountains, is best known for a signature pasta dish — spaghetti all' amatriciana — and chefs around Italy and the world are cooking it up to help raise money for victims.
As comforting as those relief efforts appear, it remains bittersweet for those hit hardest. As the Guardian reported, Amatrice was set to hold its 50th annual food festival this weekend, a celebration of all' amatriciana, which traditionally, is a tomato-based sauce punched up with guanciale, white wine, peperoncino and pecorino cheese.
With the community reeling from the damage wreaked by the 6.2 magnitude earthquake, the festival is off. But thanks to the efforts of Italian food blogger Paolo Campana, who according to NPR began organizing just hours after the earthquake hit, more than 600 restaurants across Italy are using the town's famous dish to raise money for the Italian Red Cross. Efforts are reaching stateside restaurants, but you can also donate online.