By Jennifer R Jones | Posted on September 21, 2009 12:00 PM
OK, people, listen up: More than 12 million kids in this country are at risk of hunger, and this week, you can do something about it. Share Our Strength’s Great American Dine Out returns this week (Sept. 20-26) in cities across the country, including New York. So what's the deal? This week-long program raises money to help feed these at-risk kids by calling on restaurants-and the public--to step up, as it were, to the plate. How? Restaurants are implementing a number of programs, from donating portions of their proceeds to the cause to creating special menu items to selling promotional coupons or items like t-shirts. What can you do? Paradoxically, you can help children get a meal by eating one yourself, so get thee to a restaurant. Participating restaurants in New York City range from the casual to the high-end, and include Blue Smoke (Barbecue); Eleven Madison Park (American); Capsouto Freres (French); Caffe Grazie (Italian); and Shula’s Steak House (Um, steak). (For a complete list, you can check GreatAmericanDineOut.org). The restaurants can be found all over the city, and last year, more than 4000 restaurants nationwide participated. Money raised will go to food banks and pantries (already feeling the economic pinch); increased community gardens; and stepped-up advocacy of children’s nutrition-related programs, among other things. The eventual goal of Share Our Strength is nothing less than ending childhood hunger in this country--and if that’s not worth pulling out the piggy bank for a meal out, what is?