For her efforts to make no kid hungry a reality, National Restaurant Association president and CEO Dawn Sweeney was named a “No Kid Hungry Hero” by Share Our Strength.
“I am humbled to accept this recognition on behalf of the restaurant industry,” Sweeney says. “Restaurateurs are natural philanthropists who reach out to help those experiencing hard times by rallying their employees and customers in causes like the Dine Out for No Kid Hungry campaign. The National Restaurant Association and our members are proud to be a Share Our Strength partner fighting childhood hunger.”
Sweeney was honored at a June 4 awards dinner in Washington benefitting Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign.
“Restaurants have always been the backbone at Share Our Strength,” says Debbie Shore, cofounder of Share Our Strength. “In fact, they’ve raised over $100 million to fight childhood hunger. When we launched the Dine Out in 2008, the first person we went to was Dawn Sweeney at the National Restaurant Association. Her response was, ‘Absolutely, yes, we want to get on board as a national partner.’”
Shore noted that Sweeney has actively promoted the campaign to National Restaurant Association members and state partners, calling her personal outreach to the industry “powerful.”
Share Our Strength president Tom Nelson says approximately 8,200 restaurants participated in the Dine Out in 2012, raising a total of nearly $6 million. He credits this success to the support of the National Restaurant Association.
"Thanks to the hard work and leadership of people like Dawn, the No Kid Hungry campaign has been able to connect kids in need to millions of meals,” Nelson says.
America’s restaurants give back to their communities in major ways. In the past year alone, the restaurant industry gave nearly $3 billion in resources to make their communities and this nation stronger.
In addition, the industry is helping to ensure that children have access to healthy, nutritious food when they dine out. Under Sweeney’s leadership, the National Restaurant Association launched the Kids LiveWell initiative, a first-of-its kind, voluntary program that helps parents and children select healthful menu options.
Sweeney has been honored by the Campaign to End Obesity for her leadership in helping inspire and guide the foodservice industry’s nutrition initiatives. She is also a charter member of Child Obesity 180, a unique multi-sector initiative of private, public, non-profit, and academic leaders who have made a commitment to assuring a leadership role in preventing childhood obesity through evidence-based initiatives.