Just for one moment, imagine a life very different from your comfortable, well-fed existence. You're a 10-year-old kid. Dad's out of work and can't find a job. Mom is working part-time. You know something's wrong because you're hungry. All the time. Other kids buy lunch or bring it to school, but there's nothing at home and little money so your main meal is what your school gives you. Then comes the weekend or a school holiday. There is no school lunch and your stomach is grumbling. You can't focus on anything. You're sleepy. Your head hurts. In short, you're miserable and so's your kid sister. And, there's not a thing you can do about it.
This scenario is playing out all over San Diego County. You think your kids go to a great school and it's not your issue? Well, you'd be surprised at the number of children who are going hungry and the middle class neighborhoods they live in. Including yours.
So, starting today, starting now, I'm hoping you'll help us -- food writers, chefs, restaurant owners, food vendors, and media -- help The San Diego Food Bank fund their Food 4 Kids Backpack Program.
The San Diego Food Bank launched its Food 4 Kids Backpack program in 2007 to provide food for chronically hungry elementary school students through the weekend. Every Friday, participating children receive a backpack filled with child-friendly foods. They need this weekend bag because while they receive free or reduced-cost meals in school, food may not be available to them on weekends or school holidays. To qualify, students must attend a school where at least 80 percent of the population receives free or reduced cost lunches, and receive a teacher referral. During the 2008-2009 school year, the program served just 200 children in eight schools throughout San Diego County. With our help, they are now serving 550 children in 19 schools and are looking to expand that to 850 children this year.
You may remember that Alice Robertson and I held our first fundraiser last November/December. We collected over $6,000 and 1,200 pounds of food, not to mention a whole lot of backpacks. This year we're holding the fundraiser over the summer so that the money, food, and backpacks we collect can help enroll more students and schools at the beginning of the school year. And, we've put together a dynamic committee of national food writer Susan Russo (Food Blogga), local chefs Diane Stopford and Amiko Gubbins, PR maven Peyton Robertson of Bay Bird PR, and NBC San Diego anchor/reporter Catherine Garcia. With all this expertise, enthusiasm, and energy, our 2010 fundraiser has grown into a major event that you'll want to participate in.
The fundraiser has three parts:
- We've set up a fundraising page at www.firstgiving.com/food4kids. You can make donations here, add comments, and keep track of our progress. This launches today and runs through the end of August. And, we want to thank NBC San Diego, which is contributing the 7 percent cut firstgiving.com takes of the total raised on the site so we don't lose any money you give!
- We are encouraging people to collect neutral backpacks (as in no logos and preferably black or red since those are the kids’ favorite colors) and kid-friendly non-perishable foods (applesauce, cereal, fruit cups, mac ‘n cheese, pretzels, etc. No junk food but be aware that we are not doing nutrition education here, just trying to fill hungry tummies.) The collection for this food and backpack drive will be at the Little Italy Mercato on August 21. Hold your own drive at your office, in your neighborhood, with your church or temple group, or your kid's scouting troop, then bring it all to us on August 21.
- A “dollar-a-dish” event throughout the month of August by participating restaurants. This started out as an offer by Matt Gordon and Scott Watkins of Urban Solace for our first fundraiser and Rimel's also contributed. This year it's skyrocketed. We have 47 restaurants participating -- at every price point. These restaurants will select one of their best selling dishes and for the month of August will contribute $1 for every dish sold. See the list below and please go, order the featured dish, and help us by enjoying yourself! Organize a party with your friends or colleagues at your favorite restaurant and have everyone bring filled backpacks and order the featured dish.
You can also help us by spreading the word on your own blog, on Facebook (our page is www.facebook.com/food4kids), and on Twitter (use #food4kidsSD).
And, here are the fabulous restaurants, along with their featured dishes, who are participating in Dollar-a-Dish:
Alchemy: Sea Bass Ceviche
Bencotto: Pollo all Pizzaiola
Café Chloe: Steak Frites
Casa de Bandini: Fish tacos
Casa de Pico:: Fish tacos
Casa Guadalajara: Fish tacos
Cosmopolitan Restaurant: Watermelon Salad
Cowboy Star: Meyer Natural "Certified Humane" Filet
Croce’s: 3 desserts -- Fondant Au Chocolat, Vanilla Lavender Honey Creme Brulee, and House-made White Chocolate Macadamia Coconut Ice Cream
Cucina Urbana: Pizza ordered at lunch
Dining Details (Caterer)
Flippin Pizza: (all four locations and their truck) full-size Tomato Basil pizza
Gaglione Brothers: (all 3 locations) Meatball Sandwich "Father Joe"
George’s at the Cove: Date salad with arugula, goat cheese, walnuts, and pomegranite vinaigrette
JRDN: Lamb Lollipop
Jsix: Monthly Sustainable Seafood Dish
Kensington Grill:: Hog Bar
Lotsa Pasta: Timpano
NINE-TEN: Hamachi Sashimi with marinated baby shitake mushrooms and scallion vinaigrette
O’Brothers: Big O Burger
Pizza Fusion: Farmers Market Pizza
Playa Grill: Carnitas Plate
Ritual Tavern: Niman Ranch Skirt Steak served with Roasted Market Vegetables, Blue Cheese Mashed Potatoes and Sherry Demi Glace
Roseville: Pan-roasted local halibut, White truffle corn puree, English pea, corn, radish & pea-vine salad
Royal India: Chicken Tikka Masala
Sessions Public: Ribeye Fries
Soleluna Cafe: Pasta of the Day
SoNo Trading Company: Cuban Sandwich
Starlite: Jidori Chicken
Stingaree: Manage a Trois of Fried Point Vincente Calamari, Mexican White Shrimp, Bay Scallops with Sherry Chili Aioli and Lemon
Terra: Sea Bass
The Red Door: Short Ribs
Urban Solace: Duckaroni (Mac n' Chese with Blue Cheese, Duck Confit, Roasted Garlic, Arugula, and Scallion and New York White Cheddar Mac n' Cheese with Caramalized Bacon and Charred Tomatoes
Wine Steals (all 4 locations): Full-size pizza order
Zenbu: (both locations) Hot Rock
Whatever you can do to help will be hugely appreciated. This is a way to literally nourish the kids in our community during tough times.