Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Great American Dine Out

When I had my son five years ago, I instantly adopted my grandmother’s insane obsession with kids having enough to eat. Nonnie is the prototypical Italian grandmother who cannot rest until she has stuffed everyone, but most especially children, full of food. It’s not a hip or cool position to hold but that’s how I am now. If my kids refuse to have breakfast in the morning and I have to send them to school with just a few bites of apple or a handful of Cheerios, I spend all day agitated by the thought that their little stomachs are rumbling.

So the idea that there are children out there whose little stomachs really are rumbling, and not because they’re pesky and picky, but because there’s just no food for them to eat, is agonizing. Which is why I was thrilled to learn about a program that’s trying to help, called The Great American Dine Out, which is underway right now, and in which you can participate all week. Here’s the deal:

From Sept 19-25, participating restaurants nation-wide (and here in NY, that’s everything from The Palm and Blue Smoke to Boston Market and TGI Fridays) will donate a portion of the money you spend there to the No Kid Hungry campaign, run by Share Our Strength, whose goal is to eradicate childhood hunger by the year 2015. Basically, for this week, you donate by dining out. You can search for participating restaurants by entering your zip code here.

Here’s exactly what the program helps to achieve (from the Share Our Strength site):

  • Enroll more eligible kids in school breakfast, after-school snacks and meals, and their families in SNAP (food stamps).
  • Bring community gardens and farmers markets to low-income neighborhoods
  • Bring affordable, fresh fruits and vegetables to urban corner stores.
  • Teach at-risk families how to plan, shop for, and prepare healthy, low-cost meals at home.
  • Help local food pantries, food banks and soup kitchens meet the pressing demand for more nutritious food.
  • Increase awareness and understanding of childhood hunger and solutions to it.

Oh, and get this: the 150 year-old Australian wine company, Jacob’s Creek, has joined Share Our Strength and will donate $1 for every glass or bottle of wine ordered in a restaurant and for every glass of wine virtually shared (to do that, click on www.sharejacobscreek.com)

Yes, what I’m saying here is you can help hungry children by drinking (great vino, too, I might add – tried the Pinot Noir last night and yum yum, hit the spot)

Drink booze. Save yourself a night of cooking. Help kids. Who DOESN’T that appeal to?