‘Tis the season for restaurants to promote holiday specials and festive events, but it’s also a time to reflect on how to make the world a better place to live – and eat. Whether it’s through year-round efforts or seasonal campaigns, many of our program restaurants are dedicated to serving their customers as well as worthy organizations. With food drives, charity dinners, fundraising events, and more, here are some of the astounding ways our program restaurants have given back this year to those in need.
Feast Portland brings together restaurants across the country and industry leaders for a four-day foodie celebration. This year’s event featured a Grand Tasting including McMenamins and Bambuza Vietnam Kitchen, a hands-on cooking class with Pacific Pie Co., and a dinner series with Bluehour. Beyond the festivities, Feast Portland has a mission to help end childhood hunger by donating net proceeds to Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign and Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon. Feast Portland raised $62,143 in 2014 alone, and since its start in 2012 has donated over $160,000 to its charitable partners.
The Conquer Cancer Coalition works to inform, educate, and most importantly, conquer all forms of cancer by building awareness in the community. In partnership with this non-profit, Lucky Strike locations across the country participated in charity promotions this year from May 1-July 31. With fundraising events and special menu items for which Lucky Strike donated a portion of the proceeds, Lucky Strike helped raise $42,000 this year for the Conquer Cancer Coalition. This partnership even gained the support and backing of famous hip-hop artist Darryl “DMC” McDaniels of RUN DMC, who served as the campaign’s ambassador.
Jimmy Buckner, owner of Knoxville’s Latitude 35, is more than just a restaurateur. He’s also the Executive
Director for The Scarecrow Foundation, a 501c3 organization dedicated to helping end hunger in America. The foundation’s connections within the restaurant industry and support from the University of Tennessee have helped The Scarecrow Foundation’s efforts to bring together the Knoxville community and support charitable causes on a local and national scale. In 2015, The Scarecrow Foundation is launching a fundraising campaign to build a headquarters to better serve the charities it supports such as The Love Kitchen, Second Harvest Food Bank, and Mobile Meals.
Since 1992, Taste of the NFL has raised over $22 million for Feeding America-affiliated food banks and other hunger relief organizations. Joining top restaurants and chefs across the country, Davio’s is supporting the NFL’s campaign to help “kick hunger”. Davio’s owner Steve DiFillippo and Culinary Directory Rodney Murillo will be the representing chefs for the New England Patriots at this year’s Party with a Purpose, an annual event held on the eve of the Super Bowl. Davio’s diners can also help support the cause – for every select bottle of wine purchased at any Davio’s location during the 2014/2015 NFL season, E&J Gallo Wines will donate meals to The Greater Boston Food Bank.
Each year, Taste of the Nation brings together renowned chefs and beloved restaurants for regional events to support Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign. On August 13, over 100 chefs and mixologists from the Chicago area offered delicious bites and sips for the Taste of the Nation Chicago event. Supporting the organization’s efforts to end childhood hunger, participating restaurants this year included Acadia, The Bristol, and Lillie’s Q. With 100% of the proceeds from nearly 40 events across the United States and Canada, Taste of the Nation has raised over $89 million to connect kids in need with healthy food since 1988.
With five program locations, Hoffbrau Steaks hosts events and fundraising campaigns throughout the year to benefit the Dallas-Fort Worth area and beyond. One of these efforts included this year’s Turkey Drive at the West End location to help raise funds to feed the homeless. Nearly doubling last year’s donations, this year the West End location collected over $1,600. This went towards purchasing 100 turkeys for El Centro College and the S.M. Wright Foundation, plus 10 turkeys for Vincent’s Charity, $239 to help El Centro bake 300 pies, and over $100 to Dallas Life’s Toilet Paper Drive.
As a nationwide partner of Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals since 2011, Lone Star Steakhouse has helped the non-profit organization raise funds for 170 children’s hospitals across the United States. In an effort to dedicate more time and energy toward the cause, Lone Star launched a “Give $2, Get $5” campaign during the month of October. By donating $2 to Children’s Miracle Network at participating Lone Star Steakhouse locations, diners earned $5 off their next visit to the restaurant. This month-long campaign raised nearly $50,000 dollars for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.
Each year, program restaurant Drunken Fish hosts a Thanksgiving Eve food drive party at its St. Louis Central West End location to benefit Operation Food Search. Last month, Drunken Fish collected hundreds of donated canned goods to benefit this nonprofit dedicated to ending hunger in the greater St. Louis metro area. This year, Drunken Fish not only hosted its “Get Canned” Thanksgiving Eve fundraiser, but also participated in Operation Food Search’s “Tomato Explosion” campaign in July. As part of this campaign, Drunken Fish donated a portion of the proceeds from its “BLT roll” sales to Operation Food Search, which collectively with other restaurants in the area raised $35,000.
The H.O.P.E. Foundation strives to support education through scholarships to individuals pursuing a future in the arts, and was founded by Bocca Di Bacco’s Executive Chef Kristin Sollenne and Sweet Life Events President Monica Kline-Kazas. To support this cause, Bocca Di Bacco hosts the monthly “Kristin’s Table” event, featuring a five-course food and wine tasting in the restaurant’s private cellar room. Tickets are $115 with a portion of the proceeds benefiting The H.O.P.E. Foundation. The next event will be held on Dec. 16 – email firstname.lastname@example.org for reservations.
Raising money for charity can be as easy as dining out at Texas Land & Cattle. Supporting the local community, non-profit organizations can host designated fundraising nights at any Texas Land & Cattle location. For every guest that presents the organization’s Dine & Donate flyer during their event, the restaurant will donate 15% of that guest’s check back to the hosting organization. Participating charities have included schools, animal rescues, and local Lions Clubs.
Based in Orange County, CA, Miracles for Kids is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of children with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses. On December 7, Santa Monica restaurant The Upper West hosted a “Miracles on 34th Street” fundraiser with 50% of the proceeds donated to Miracles for Kids. Tickets were $120 with an unwrapped toy donation, and the event featured a four-course dinner, cocktails, and a silent auction. Miracles for Kids patients also attended and went behind the scenes to learn how The Upper West team prepared the dinner.
Over 20 million children around the world suffer from Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM), which causes two million deaths annually. To help fight this global epidemic, STOP SAM raises money to send Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) packets to kids in need. As part of this year’s PB&J for Good campaign, Atlanta restaurants including ONE. Midtown Kitchen, Parish, Rosebud, TAP, The Barrelhouse, The Bishop, and The Spence helped support the cause. From October 16-25, each restaurant featured its own creative PB&J-themed special and donated a portion of the proceeds from sales of the dish to STOP SAM.