Seventy-three Colorado restaurants participate in anti-hunger fundraiser
Share Our Strength’s Great American Dine Out, now presented by American Express, has evolved into a national campaign that puts the nation’s restaurant industry (independents and chains) in an effort to combat childhood hunger in America. It began on Sunday, September 21 and runs through September 28.
Individual restaurants select their participation level, contributing up to 5 percent of sales during the fundraising period. At least 73 Colorado restaurants — most concentrated on the Front Range — are participating. Click here for a map and list. According to the SOS website, “The majority of funds support this work in the communities that have raised the funds, and go to organizations that provide programs and services that help provide nutritious food to children where they live, learn and play.”
Other national anti-hunger fundraisers throughout the year with the same or similar sponsors include Taste of the Nation (now in its 20th year), the Great American Bake Sale, A Tasteful Pursuit and Operation Frontline. In all, SOS says that its efforts have raised more than $210 million for hunger relief. As the organization explains:
“Today’s headlines offer sobering news: high unemployment, food riots
overseas and record-high prices for fuel and food here at home. Many Americans
are struggling to stretch their budgets far enough to cover basic
“Soaring costs on sustainable foods like milk, eggs, fruits and vegetables
are hitting the nation’s poorer families the hardest. Enrollment in federal food
stamp programs has risen steadily since 2007 and is expected to hit 28 million
by October of this year—the highest since the program launched more than 40
“Food banks across the nation are seeing more clients as supplies slowly
dwindle. To date, more than 33 million Americans live below the poverty line,
earning annual incomes of less than $20,000. Among the individuals most affected
by all this— more than 12 million children. With food prices expected to rise
even higher and schools closing for the summer, many food banks across the
nation anticipate even greater demand. And, as shelves become barer, many are
reaching out to donors and local businesses for financial support.”
And that, indirectly, means us, the dining public, so if you are going out to eat this week, go to a participating restaurant. This may be the one time that I actually encourage diners to go to chain restaurants, because several have signed on. They include Bucca de Beppo, Lone Star Steakhouse, McCormick’s and McCormick’s & Schmick’s, Spicy Pickle, Ted’s Montana Grill and others. Then again, such fine-dining establishments as the Palace Arms (303-297-3111)in Denver’s Brown Palace Hotel and Larkspur in Vail are also taking part.
In fact, it’s a great time of year for Larkspur (970-754-8050). You can view the golden aspen, take advantage of the restaurant’s fall special (three-course dinne for $25, plus 50 percent off wine) and make a small indirect contribution to anti-hunger efforts too. Larkspur sent out a press release indicating that they are contributing through October 25, which is the end of their fall season and adds an additional month to the SOS program. Just don’t plan on Larkspur this Saturday, September 27, because the restaurant will be closed that day.
I only wish that I had posted this reminder at the beginning of the fundraiser rather than half-way through, but it’s not too late.