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Nearly 8,300 restaurants pitched in throughout the month of September in an effort to end childhood hunger by participating in Share Our Strength’s annual Dine Out for No Kid Hungry fundraising campaign.
Restaurateurs, together with their employees and customers, raised more than $5 million, or double the amount raised last year, helping to ensure that hungry children across the nation are fed.
Billy Shore, founder and chief executive of Washington, D.C.-based SOS, called the effects of childhood hunger “far-reaching. This is not a political issue; it’s a commonsense issue. When we feed our kids, they grow up smarter, stronger and healthier.”
SOS said more than 16 million children in the United States face hunger problems.
Throughout the month of September, chain and independent restaurants around the country focused their energies on raising funds for the campaign through a variety of methods.
From Aug. 20 through Sept. 30, Arby’s restaurants reached a new record by raising $2.5 million. The Atlanta-based quick-service chain collected money for the Arby’s Foundation and its mission to end childhood hunger, through a partnership with SOS’s No Kid Hungry campaign. Customers who donated $1 received a pin-up pledge to sign and hang on the wall of the restaurant to show their support.
“We’re extremely proud of the extraordinary efforts of our franchisees, company-owned restaurants and employees who went the extra mile,” said Hala Moddelmog, president of Arby’s Restaurant Group Inc. “Childhood hunger is a monumental problem in this country, and we’ve pledged as a brand to stand up and take action to ensure that no child grows up hungry.”
Bruegger’s Bagels in Burlington, Vt., said it would donate $125,000 to the SOS campaign. The funds were raised in a monthlong fundraising drive on the Bruegger’s Facebook page and through coupon-book sales in the brand’s 300-plus locations.
Bruegger’s said its customers participated in record numbers this year, enabling the bagel bakery to meet its fundraising goal — four times the amount raised in 2011.
“Bruegger’s employees and its guests pulled out all the stops this year in the fight against childhood hunger,” said Jim Vinz, co-CEO of Bruegger’s parent company Le Duff America and chairman of the Dine Out for No Kid Hungry Advisory Board. “Their tremendous efforts will help Share Our Strength provide relief for the 16.6 million children in this country who are at risk of hunger and help ensure that every child in the U.S. gets the food they need.”
Employees of Joe’s Crab Shack and Brick House Tavern + Tap — part of Ignite Restaurant Group in Houston — raised in excess of $1 million for the program this year. A national partner and fundraiser for SOS, Joe’s has participated in the annual No Kid Hungry initiative since it began in 2008.
During September’s event Joe’s and Brick House offered customers the chance to donate in increments ranging from $1 to $10 in exchange for coupons redeemable for various menu items. Guests also were able to donate to the No Kid Hungry campaign by visiting both brands’ websites, where they received similar online coupons.
“As a restaurant group and longtime partner with Share Our Strength, we are committed to supporting our nation’s children and the fight against childhood hunger,” said Joe’s chief operating officer Jim Mazany, the 2013 chair of the No Kid Hungry Advisory Board. “We want to thank our devoted customers who gave so generously to the effort and our employee teams who worked hard to spread the Share Our Strength message. Their dedication to No Kid Hungry’s goal of eliminating childhood hunger by 2015 is inspiring.”
Romano’s Macaroni Grill said it raised $300,000, surpassing its fundraising goal by 200 percent.
“Our campaign to support No Kid Hungry exceeded all expectations,” said Romano’s Macaroni Grill CEO Norman Abdallah. “It rallied the nation to come together for an important cause, ultimately raising more than $300,000 and helping connect kids to as many as three million meals — triple what we had initially targeted.”
Other participants in the No Kid Hungry campaign were Bellizzi, Benchmarc Restaurants by Marc Murphy, Border Grill, Colore Italian Restaurant, Corner Bakery Cafe, Denny’s, Fuddruckers, La Madeleine, Legal Sea Foods, Magnolia’s Restaurant & Catering, Manito Tap House, Qdoba Mexican Grill, Raising Cane’sFingers, Shari’s Cafe & Pies, Ted’s Montana Grill, Togo’s and many others.
The money raised through No Kid Hungry is used to fund effective nutrition programs like the SchoolProgram and summer meals programs, and to help eliminate barriers that prevent children from accessing programs like these and other existing food and nutrition resources, SOS said.
This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
Correction: Nov. 13, 2012 An earlier version of this article incorrectly identified Romano’s Macaroni Grill as a national sponsor of Dine Out for No Kid Hungry. The restaurant is a participant in the event.