Last week, September 18-24, was Share Our Strength’s annual event, Dine Out for No Kid Hungry™ (formally known as the Great American Dine Out). This national campaign for No Kid Hungry allows restaurants and customers to join together to help combat childhood hunger in America, which Share Our Strength is committed to end.
This year’s event was extremely successful. There were over 5500 restaurants in attendance (which is up over 100 restaurants from last year), many of which in some way extended their campaign anywhere from a week to even the entire month of September.
To raise money, each participating restaurant has a promotion for their customers. Each customer that donates to the cause then takes advantage of the promotion—which ranges from free items to bounce-back coupons.
Last year Share Our Strength raised $1.5 million and this year’s goal was $2.5 million. While official numbers won’t roll out until mid to late November, Share Our Strength Senior Manager, Jessie Sherrer, keeps getting updates and it looks like they may have even exceeded the goal (but nothing will be official until final numbers are released).
“We had great companies this year, especially with some of the bigger restaurants such as Joe’s Crab Shack, Corner Bakery, Monical’s Pizza, Denny’s, etc.,” Sherrer said. “And it was Pita Pit’s first year and they just blew out of the water.”
This was Central customer Monical’s Pizza’s second time participating in Dine Out for No Kid Hungry ™. They opened in 1959 by the Monical family in Tolono, Ill., and today have at least 66 restaurants in Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin.
“Our 2011 event was made up of Monical’s Pizza donating $1 from every 16” thin crust one or more topping Family Pleaser® (pizza, salad and soft drink) sold in our participating locations,” said Lisa Chidichimo, Marketing Technology Coordinator for Monical’s. “In order to benefit the Share Our Strength funds, we also offered a 20 percent discount on this meal combination.”
While Monical’s mostly participates in local programs and assisting the communities they serve, Chidichimo said this national program fit into their values.
“Their program is taking on childhood hunger through what they call a state strategy; launching state-and city campaigns across the U.S. Each campaign is dedicated to its specific geographic area and works by building private-public partnerships with local anti-hunger groups, government agencies, corporate partners and key political, education and business leaders,” she explained. “These partnerships focus on increasing participation in federal nutrition programs, in turn, unleashes millions of federal dollars to connect kids who are at risk of hunger to the food they need to succeed.”
Chidichimo also added the impact of this year’s campaign was better than their last—and it’s always a learning process. The support and promotion materials provided by Share Our Strength was very helpful to them.
While the total amount of Monical’s donations is still being calculated, Chidichimo says it seems as though they will contribute upwards of $7000. (Again, all numbers for both the Dine Out and Monical’s are tentative).
All restaurant participation for the No Kid Hungry campaign truly assists the over 17 million children in America that struggle with hunger. Their website points out this is nearly one out of four children. They also add these children have trouble learning, are sick more often and aren’t able to develop as quickly or as soundly as other children.
To learn more about No Kid Hungry, visit the Dine Out website or read their blog. They are on Facebook and Twitter too. There are events throughout the year and you can also make a donation to the cause at any time. So if you missed out on the event this year but would like to become more involved in the organization, there are many ways on their website for you to do so.
Central will continue to follow the progress of Dine Out for No Kid Hungry™ and will pass along the announcement of this year’s total number once the information becomes available. Also, check out our July blog about the event to see how successful Share Our Strength was over what their original plans were!
If you were a participating restaurant or customer, we’d love to hear your experience with this year’s Dine Out for No Kid Hungry!