Tag Archives: America

Restaurants Can Start Signing Up for Dine Out for No Kid Hungry

It’s that time of year again; restaurants can begin to sign up for Share Our Strength’s Dine Out for No Kid Hungry, which will run during the week of September 16.  Some restaurants even extend their participation throughout the entire month of September.

Dine Out for No Kid Hungry is a fundraising campaign for restaurants to help Share Our Strength end childhood hunger in America. It enables restaurants help fight for the cause while increasing sales at the same time.

With childhood obesity being such a heavily discussed topic in the news, it can be easy to forget the nearly one in five children in America facing hunger or the 15.7 million that live in poverty.  That’s where Dine Out for No Kid Hungry comes in and gets restaurants and diners all across the country involved.

“Last year, I am happy to report that we raised nearly $2.4 million, which was a 53 percent increase over 2010,” said Jessie Sherrer, senior manager at Share Our Strength.  “Restaurants reported sales increases of up to 8 percent and average coupon redemption rates up to 40 percent.”

Sherrer added 2011 was an amazing year and this year promises to be even better.  Their goal for 2012 is to have 10,000 participating restaurants and to raise $5 million.

Spokesperson Jeff Bridges

Share Our Strength has made it easy for restaurants to sign up and to have all the information they need to be prepared.  Registration is free and easy to fill out. They have even provided a spreadsheet for multi-unit restaurants so all locations appear on the event’s searchable Google map.

Once restaurants have signed up, they can take advantage of the Online Resource Center which houses point of purchase materials, media and customer outreach tools, employee engagement templates and guidelines, case studies, fact sheets, logos and videos.

In a nutshell, Share Our Strength has done all the work and preparation so restaurants can just focus on running a successful promotion. Sherrer shared these additional key points on how participating with Dine Out for No Kid Hungry can help a business:

  • Support a cause that customers care about
  • No minimum financial commitment; high potential return
  • Drive business objectives including sales, traffic, ticket price, repeat business, PR, etc.
  • Energize employees and encourage team-building, improving performance and job satisfaction
  • Engage guests with your brand
  • Turn-key activation: National PR from Share Our Strength and access to the online resource center of promotional materials, employee training guides, template press materials, social media guide and more
  • Platform for customer giving programs, bounce-back coupons, special menu items, etc.

According to the Dine Out for No Kid Hungry website, funds raised during the event help “build state- and city-based No Kid Hungry partnerships of public and private decision-makers who develop a measurable action plan to end child hunger in their city.”

The event also expands effective assistance, education and advocacy programs, raises awareness of childhood hunger and educates at-risk families. The campaign focuses on school breakfast, non-school hour programs (i.e. summer, after school) healthy snacks, SNAP (food stamps), WIC (Women, Infants and Children Assistance), emergency food assistance and skills-based nutrition education.

For more information, visit the Dine Out for No Kid Hungry website, as well as Facebook and Twitter.

Restaurants aren’t the only ones who can help.  Anyone can take the pledge or make a donation.

All photos used with permission from the Share Our Strength/Dine Out for No Kid Hungry website.

Food Rescuing Organizations: How Restaurants and Foodservices Can Help Combat Hunger

With obesity rates as high as they are, it makes it easy to forget the millions of Americans, both adults and children, who struggle with hunger on a daily basis. There are my ways to help combat hunger and as we learned in our Tuesday blog, food rescue organizations are one way restaurants and foodservices can make a difference.

What Do Food Rescue Organizations Do?

In January, we spoke with Ben Shine, communications and development manager at Second Helpings of Indianapolis, to learn about food rescuing and their involvement with the Super Bowl.

“It’s anything overstocked, over prepared or unused,” Shine said.  “Anything that hasn’t been served to the public and handled by food safe handlers.”

Food rescuers get the unused food from a variety of sources such as restaurants, distributors and grocery stores.

Restaurants Getting Involved

According to a recent article from ABC 2 news in Chicago, recent statistics show 30 to 50 percent of the world’s food does not get eaten and ends up in landfills.

Restaurants and foodservices are some of many places where food is wasted, and by teaming up with a local food rescuing organization, that perfectly fine, unused food can be saved and served to someone who needs it.

Finding a food rescue in your area can be as simple as a quick Google search.  There is also a section of the USDA’s website that provides information about some of the country’s largest food rescuing organizations, as well as the USDA Food Recovery Hotline: 1-800-GLEAN-IT.

A Look at a Food Rescuing Organization: Second Helpings of Indianapolis

Second Helpings is a non-profit food rescuing organization in Indianapolis.  On Tuesday March 27, we (Content Coordinators Ashley Cobb and Tracey Rector) visited the facility for a tour and to learn more about what Second Helpings does.

The organization was started in 1998 by three Indianapolis chefs: Kristen Cordoza Kienker, Bob Koch and Jean Paison.  Today, Second Helpings rescues over 1.7 million pounds of food each year and delivers around 3,000 meals to over 60 social service agencies.  This saves those agencies approximately $2 million each year.

“We don’t go search for hungry people to feed, or open up to let them come eat.  You see, these agencies already know where to find them and what their needs are,” Shine explained. “Plus, the food we provide these organizations saves them tens of thousands of dollars a year in providing full food service to their clients.”

Second Helpings has over 600 volunteers, 30 of which work in their facility each day.

But they don’t only rescue food; Second Helpings also has a free culinary job training program for the unemployed or underemployed and places 85 percent of graduates in local foodservice positions.

“We have our culinary training class led by Chef Sam Brown,” said Second Helpings Communications and Development Coordinator, Emily Cutka.

Chef Brown is a graduate of class No. 6, and Second Helpings recently held their 66th graduation.  This last class had 12 graduates and Cutka said there have been 483 graduates so far.

“Half the day is spent in the classroom and the other half is spent in the kitchen,” she said. “Guest chefs from well-known restaurant around Indy come in sometimes as well.”

For Second Helpings, It’s More than Just Rescuing Food

Each volunteer from Second Helpings is trained on what food can be brought back and understand what is safe to eat.

They also recycle and compost.  A company comes in to pick up the recycling and compost and Cutka mentioned some of the remaining compost is used for their herb garden in their backyard.

Also, each volunteer cooking the food is very aware of where the food will be delivered that day and adjusts how it’s cooked accordingly.

“For example, if it’s going to places where children are the main demographic, the volunteers will be sure to cut up the food into smaller pieces,” Cutka said.  “Or if the food is going to Wheeler Mission, where adult men are the base demographic, they will be more likely to prepare something more hearty.”

And thanks to some private donations, Second Helpings has recently doubled their capacity and now have a more streamlined process for their day-to-day tasks.

Overall

The visit to Second Helpings was incredible.  It’s amazing to see so much food that would normally go to waste be put to good use.

Second Helpings is just one of many food rescuing organizations in the country and is definitely a great way for restaurants and foodservices to help combat hunger.

To get involved, search your area or visit the USDA website.

All photos taken during our visit to Second Helpings.  View our Facebook page to view all photos during our visit.