Industry News | February 19, 2010

Great American Dine Out Fights Childhood Hunger

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Nearly 17 million children in America—almost one in four—struggle with hunger. They live in families lacking the resources to put nutritious meals on the table, and they suffer the health consequences: impaired growth, development, and performance at school, more illness and hospitalizations, and greater susceptibility to obesity than other kids.

Share Our Strength’s Great American Dine Out, now in its third year, rallies chain, franchise, and independent restaurants to raise funds to help end childhood hunger in America by participating in a national week-long dine out. This year’s Great American Dine Out is September 19–25, 2010.

“Our mission is to end childhood hunger in America by 2015," says Ray Blanchette, CEO of Ignite Restaurant Group and chairman of the Great American Dine Out board of directors. "It begins with an eagerness to give back to our local communities. Partnering with Share Our Strength in the Great American Dine Out is a critical step in aligning the restaurant industry as a whole to give back in a strategic way. Participating in the Great American Dine Out will inspire everyone in an organization, from the office staff to the managers and hourly team members. I urge every restaurant to sign up today to support the Great American Dine Out. It will take everyone in our industry to ensure that no child grows up hungry.”

Since 2007, thousands of restaurants have participated in the Great American Dine Out, rallying their employees, vendors, and customers to raise more than $1.2 million to help end childhood hunger. The Eastern Illinois Foodbank, for example, used a grant it received from funds raised through the Great American Dine Out to help support a number of food programs that help children.

Last year alone, more than 3,500 restaurants raised nearly $800,000 to support No Kid Hungry, Share Our Strength’s national campaign to end childhood hunger in America by 2015.

Registration for the 2010 Great American Dine Out is open to all restaurants across the country. Once registered, restaurants can take advantage of the Great American Dine Out online resource center, full of in-store marketing materials downloads, templates for publicity tools, and instructions for ordering pre-printed promotional materials.

To register, contact Jessie Sherrer at 202-478-6505. Online registration will be available on March 1, 2010.

The 2010 Great American Dine Out is sponsored by Sysco, Ecolab, American Express, USA Today, Food Network, and The National Restaurant Association.