Fazoli's Breadstick Tour across the country has come to an end. The Breadstick Express truck made its final stop back where it started, in Lexington, Kentucky.
Instead of handing out breadsticks, the truck was joined by two semi-tractor trailers to distribute meals and other essentials to 800 families.
With this stop starts the process of delivering on a promise of helping children in need. In just two months, Fazoli's and Feed The Children have raised more than $35,000 in funds, nine tons in food, and reached more than 80 million people through the media and on the Internet to communicate the importance of the cause.
While fundraising efforts continue, Fazoli's will take the time to give back to those who helped Feed The Children. At all participating Fazoli's, kids meals are free through Sunday. This allows kids 12 and under to receive a free meal for every adult entree purchased.
Cathy Hull, Fazoli's chief marketing officer, says she is excited to offer guests who generously supported the tour a "thank you" in the form of free food.
“Fazoli's is a place where families can get together without breaking their budget," Hull says. "Maybe because these families know how hard it is to make ends meet is the reason why the Feed The Children campaign was so successful. The free kids meal offer is our way of saying, ‘You helped Feed The Children, now let us help feed yours.’”
Childhood hunger in the United States is a challenging concern. More than 16 million American children are at risk of hunger, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Unemployment numbers released by the government in July revealed that recovery from the recession has been slow. In addition, drought conditions throughout the country will likely increase prices on certain food products and raise costs to hunger relief organizations.
Kevin Hagan, CEO of Feed The Children, believes creative ideas and private partnerships with organizations like Fazoli's is the answer to raising both funds and awareness.
“Taking a food truck on tour to distribute 150,000 breadsticks is a novel way of getting your message out," Hagan says. "It engaged people at parks, sporting events, and summer concerts. And it captured the media's attention. This is what is needed to elevate the conversation about childhood hunger."