I come from an Italian family. Those of you familiar with Italian tradition, know sharing a meal tops the list. Growing up, no matter what aunt, uncle or cousin we’d visit there always seemed to be an excuse to eat. Didn’t matter the time of day, whether you had just finished a meal elsewhere or if you didn’t like what was being served you always had to “mange” which of course is Italian for eat. I was always relatively skinny as a kid so my aunts would make me their target – “C’mon Billy, you need to put some meat on those bones, you are too skinny!” Thank goodness I was blessed with a fast metabolism.
I have never had to go to bed hungry and I’m guessing most people reading this blog haven’t had to do so. I can’t imagine what that is like. Growing up I knew about childhood hunger but I always thought that only happened in Ethiopia. I can remember my parents encouraging me to finish my dinner because there were children starving in Ethiopia. Sound familiar?
Today, most Americans are shocked when they realize that children are starving in Peoria! To be honest with you, I didn’t really know the extent of the problem in America until I was introduced to an organization called Share Our Strength. It happened at a People Report conference in Dallas, TX a couple of years ago. (Go Figure). For those of you who are unfamiliar with People Report they are one of the most community conscious organizations I have ever been associated with. Whenever they host a conference they include a community event on the agenda for all participants. They are huge supporters of Share Our Strength a non-profit organization whose primary purpose is to end childhood hunger in America by 2015. Personally I can’t think of a more important mission.
I’m not going to rifle through the sad statistics. I will just tell you that 1 in 4 American kids are at risk of going to bed hungry on any given night! Need I say more? There’s no doubt it’s an issue of epic proportions. For more information go to
Today our team at Talent Revolution (and many others) are focusing on restaurants; inviting them to participate in the Dine Out for No Kid Hungry which actually takes place during the week of September 18th through September 24th, 2011. Last year 4,000 restaurants participated and raised $1.5 million. This year’s goal is 5,000 restaurants and $3 million. Besides being involved in a tremendously worthy cause, that week participating restaurants will basically be supported by a social media army in addition to the PR Blitz initiated by Share Our Strength. This is a great way for restaurants to increase traffic, make money and give something back at the same time.
I know companies are barraged by non-profits and other charitable organizations. I have no doubt that many are doing more than their fair share for the communities in which they do business. What I love about this particular event is it gives our industry an opportunity to present a united front for a cause that will affect over 17 million American children!
Restaurants can participate at any level they are comfortable with financially. They can base their contribution on the traffic generated that week or on a pre-set amount. From my perspective it’s all about boosting the number of restaurants involved and not necessarily maximizing the dollar amount each contributes. Lots of restaurants giving a little as opposed to few restaurants giving a lot is the ticket to success.
I am so excited about being a small part of this incredible initiative. I hope you will consider participating or encouraging your favorite restaurant(s) to jump on board. I appreciate your consideration and thank you for reading my blog. Together we will make a difference!