Restaurants’ Holiday Giving

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Couple Working in Homeless Shelter

It’s finally that time of year again where houses are illuminated by colorful Christmas lights, and the atmosphere seems a bit more cheery. The holidays are always a favorite time for people around the world, but some people don’t get to have a “happy” one.

This is where Giving Back takes place, especially for restaurants. Many restaurants helped out this past Thanksgiving by donating meals and feeding the hungry. Hubcap Grill owner Ricky Craig provided a Thanksgiving meal to 20 needy families in Houston, Texas. Craig wanted to help out needy families after he overheard a conversation with a little boy and his mother at a gas station.  After posting a tweet about wanting to help out, Craig ended up giving a hundred dollars worth of food to 20 families. He ended up feeding 80 people that probably wouldn’t have eaten that day without his help.

Another restaurant decided to host a Thanksgiving dinner for the community. Old Chicago, located in downtown Manhattan, Kansas, opened their doors for a free Thanksgiving meal. At least 60 volunteers were on hand to serve everyone. The event created a family-like atmosphere to make guests who don’t have anyone to spend Thanksgiving with feel at home. Old Chicago also prepared meals to be delivered to hundreds around Manhattan who could not make it out of their homes, so that they could enjoy Thanksgiving as well. They served around 600 people this year.

Food drives are also a hit around the Holidays. Stadium Pizza, located in San Jacinto, California, held a canned food drive. Customers who donated non-perishable food items got discounts off of their pizzas.

One of Central’s customers, Luke’s Joint, pitched in and served a Thanksgiving Charity Lunch. They offered sliced turkey breast, glazed sweet potatoes, sweet peas, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes and a mixed greens salad. The turnout was a big success, “Wow! What a tremendous success the 3rd Annual Thanksgiving Charity Lunch was this afternoon at Luke’s Joint!! We must have served about 100 people! I’d like to thank the three volunteers who showed up to help me today: Carol Anderson, Nick Cannella & Colin Curren. Without their help, this endeavor wouldn’t have gone NEARLY as smoothly as it did!” stated Luke Patterson.

The devastation of Hurricane Sandy left victims on the East Coast with no means of a Thanksgiving dinner. Restaurants and volunteers came together to serve free meals and deliver food to families whose homes were ravaged. A pastry chef in New Jersey made 2,200 desserts for people to eat. The American Red Cross served 35,000 hot Thanksgiving meals, including turkey, mashed potatoes and apple pie. Even New York City food trucks got into the giving spirit when it came to Hurricane Sandy. Free meals were given to thousands, thanks to the dozens of food trucks stepping up to help. Indian Harvest wanted to help out the victims of Hurricane Sandy, especially the chefs who lost their homes, or jobs. They donated more than a ton of their Kansas Medley to the East Coast.  The medley included wheat berries, wild rice, parboiled long-grain rice and brown and wild rice.

Ways You Can Help:

Inspired? You should be! If you’re looking for ways that your restaurant can help give back to your community, look no further. Eric Ripert, Chef and co-owner of Le Bernardin, gives his ideas on how a restaurant can give back in this article from

“1. Donate what you can’t use.

2. Teach.

3. Fundraise as a team.

4. Participate in a fundraising event.

5. Create a win-win partnership.

6. Use your platform as a business leader to draw attention to a cause.”

To read the full article with Eric’s tips, click here.

If you want even MORE ideas on ways to give back during the Holidays, click here. has 50 easy ways to help out. Spread the joy amongst everyone this holiday season!

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