Natives for Natives: Restaurant Owner Spearheads Charity Efforts

Harry & kids

by MICHELLE SHELDONE, Jupiter Courier, May 2005

As a child growing up in then-segregated Hobe Sound, Harry MacArthur each year headed to the Civic Center for Christmas toys that the Jupiter Island Community Chest provided area youngsters.

Black residents lived down by the Civic Center, and whites resided farther north. Yet they apparently had one thing in common.

“Anyone who lived this side of the (Intracoastal) didn’t have any money,” MacArthur said. “Jupiter Island always picked up and did whatever they could for other people.”

MacArthur, now on the board of what became Hobe Sound Community Chest, began carrying on the Christmas tradition himself 17 years ago. He collected toys in a crib in front of his family’s landmark Harry & The Natives restaurant and spent about $1000 of his own money for more to add to the Santa Claus sack.

His friend, Harold Jenkins of Jenkins Landscape took the benevolence a step further about four years ago when he established the non-profit Natives Helping Natives. In addition to the toy drive, the organization offers fund-raising Christmas carols and hosts an annual event to raise money for other community needs.

“We look around the community and see where the money will help the most,” MacArthur said. “If someone has a sick child and needs some extra money, we write a check to help them out. We don’t have to go through a (formal) committee (meeting) – we just call up the board members, they come and we’ll have breakfast together, and we’ll say, ‘This person needs help.'”

Each Christmas, the organization spends $3000 to $4000 on toys. Fundraising events – and the next is a Casino Night scheduled for Saturday, June 11 – have in the past generated about $7000.

“I hate having fund-raisers like everybody else,” said MacArthur, who with other area businessmen has striped as part of benefit male revues. “I try to keep life fun.”

His life effort is evident throughout his whimsical Harry & The Natives, where signs covering the walls boast sayings like, “When my wife stops talking, her mother starts,” and “Your body may be a temple, but mine’s an amusement park.”

Each Wednesday evening, the restaurant’s outdoor stage sets the scene for Harry’s own fund-raisers featuring the band, Bona Fide. A recent concert raised $1,600 for an area resident with leg cancer, MacArthur said.

MacArthur’s parents, Pauline and John, Launched the eatery 53 years ago with an on-site gas station and guest cottages. By the 1970s the family focused exclusively on the restaurant. John MacArthur passed away 19 years ago, but Pauline – now age 90 and Hobe Sound Christmas Parade grand marshal every 10 years – continues to handle the books and work the cash register.

“This is the best place to be,” said Pauline, whose most recent grand marshalship was in 2004.

“I don’t see her retiring,” MacArthur said. “I think she has another 10 years in her.”

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