Dine In, Help Out: Philadelphians Taking a Stand Against Hunger

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

I seek out Philadelphians who make a difference; sometimes I have the honor of calling them friends.  Tonight I joined old friends and new at JG Domestic, an innovative Jose Garces restaurant, to herald the launch of Dine In, Help Out, an initiative designed to increase access to fresh, healthy, and affordable food in North Philadelphia, one of the poorest—and hungriest—congressional districts in our country.

The initiative is the brainchild of Jan Suzanne Shaeffer, who isn't just my beautiful and witty friend; she's also the executive director of St. Christopher's Foundation for Children, an organization with an established interest in the people of North Philadelphia. Not long ago, Jan and her board read the  devastating Philadelphia Inquirer portrait of North Philadelphia hunger and began to work toward solutions.

Through its very own Farm to Families, the Foundation is already bringing fresh farm foods to those North Philadelphians whose diets are saturated with health-compromising sugars and fats. Through Dine In, Help Out the Foundation raises the ante—asking friends and families across the region to commit to forgoing "one night of dining out by donating the dollars they would have spent at a restaurant to help bring affordable, healthy, farm-fresh food into North Philadelphia homes."

It is an idea that has caught the imagination of many.  It has, moreover, won the backing of those who are pictured here (left to right) with Jan—Philadelphia Media Network CEO Greg Osberg; NBC 10 President and General Manager Dennis Bianchi, Iron Chef Jose Garces (I have all my most important meals at his restaurants); and Montgomery McCracken Managing Partner Steve Madva.

Others of us are proud ambassadors—people who have committed to hosting meals in their homes on behalf of this initiative.  I'll be having a small event at my own home in early May (hoping that clean windows, fine Ikebana arrangements, and a newly mulched garden will compensate for any flaws in my menu).  I'm encouraging others of you to do the same.  It's time, every now and then, to remember how very blessed we are.  It's time to come together, over our own tables, so that we might give back to those in need.

Please look for more information here, on Dine In, Help Out's spanking new web site.   


Melissa Sarno said...

This is so cool! What a fun idea. It's a great cause to support and includes eating delicious food at home with friends and family. Win win!

Anna Lefler said...

This is so great, Beth!

And your dinner party will be divine.



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