OpenTable Goes to Washington: Supporting #NoKidHungry on Capitol Hill

Connecting with friends and family around a great meal is one our favorite activities. However, for millions of people across the country (and globe), finding the next meal isn’t as simple as clicking “Reserve Now.” Today, 48.8 million Americans live with food insecurity. 16.2 million of them are children. For the first time in over 50 years, 51% of children in America’s public schools come from families below the poverty line and struggle with hunger on a daily basis. And hunger affects more than just the appetite. Consequences of hunger can include inability to concentrate, lack of energy or motivation, poor academic performance, behavioral problems and more likelihood to get sick. We believe childhood hunger is a solvable problem — and organizations like Share Our Strength are here to find a solution.

Last week, Scott Jampol, senior vice president of marketing at OpenTable, and I were honored to attend Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry Summit in Washington, D.C., to engage, learn, and share with fellow No Kid Hungry supporters. We returned to San Francisco energized and inspired by our learnings — and more committed than ever to helping end childhood hunger in America.

 

On Monday, April 13, more than 200 No Kid Hungry corporate and foundation partners, chefs, culinary volunteers, government representatives, and community leaders gathered in the nation’s capital to outline strategies and opportunities to advance our shared cause. A variety of esteemed speakers — from Share Our Strength founders Billy and Debbie Shore, to Share Our Strength (and former OpenTable) board member and Union Square Hospitality Group restaurateur Danny Meyer, and coach Larry Clark, founder of Life Skills for Youth. Later, supporters, including area OpenTable team members Joe Ryan, Megan Scott, Carley Thomas, Thomas Bateman, Scott Calvert, Julia Sway, and Courtney Sylvester, capped off the day by sipping and supping at Taste of the Nation, D.C., joining more than 100 of the area’s best chefs, restaurateurs, and mixologists, including chefs Bryan Voltaggio (Family Meal) and Art Smith (Art and Soul), as well as local master mixologist Gina Chersevani gathered to share their strength with No Kid Hungry. After the event, chefs, and sponsors celebrated a successful evening at Mike Isabella’s Graffiato, where toasts were held over wood-fired pizzas and delicious No Kid Hungry cocktails.

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Support Lovin’ Spoonfuls Food Rescue in Boston at a 6/10 Pop-Up Dinner with Zimmern, Bissonnette + More

Lovin' SpoonfulsOn June 10th, some of Boston’s most acclaimed chefs join food and television personality Andrew Zimmern to support Lovin’ Spoonfuls, a food rescue organization in Massachusetts, at a Pop-Up Dinner. In an absolute case of “This is not your mother’s stuffy fundraiser’, Lovin’ Spoonfuls founder Ashley Stanley reveals, “On Tuesday night, we’re bringing so many different kinds of people together —  to support our work, support their community, experience and share food, and have a great time. We’re beginning with great friends of Lovin’ Spoonfuls (Josh Smith of Moody’s, Michael Scelfo of Alden & Harlow and Louis DiBiccari of Tavern Road), presenting delicious small plates of charcuterie, an incredible-sounding strawberry and parsnip dish, and delicious crudo.” Four courses prepared by chefs Zimmern, Jamie Bissonnette, Matthew Jennings, and Joanne Chang follow. The event will also feature a photo booth, a meet and greet with all the chefs, signature cocktails created by OffSite and others, wines selected by MS Walker, craft beer from PEAK, TJ Connelly spinning on the decks.  More than that, though, this is a terrific opportunity for folks to join in the fight against hunger and food waste.

Lovin’ Spoonfuls was founded in 2010 and is dedicated to facilitating the rescue and distribution of healthy, fresh food that would otherwise be discarded. This food is then delivered to community organizations and resources where it can have the greatest impact, such as homeless shelters and soup kitchens. Founder Ashley Stanley started Lovin’ Spoonfuls after learning how much food is thrown away, both in the U.S. and abroad, and realizing, “Wasting so much food in the face of what has felt like an unsolvable problem (hunger) has gone unaddressed.” She took to the streets, observing how much waste local supermarkets were producing and, then, tapping her skills as a former Division I soccer goalie, she stood in front of a dumpster “and tried to make the save.”

Since then, Lovin’ Spoonfuls has grown from Stanley and her car (and, presumably, her goalie gloves) to a fleet of temperature-controlled vehicles and seven full-time employees, rescuing and distributing more than 1.5 million pounds of fresh, healthy food to folks who don’t know where their next meal is coming from. Stanley says, “For so long, we’ve been sort of punched in the face with the messages that hunger exists, and there’s not enough food to feed everyone. We’re challenging those messages. There is enough food — but the choices we make as a global community keep it from being harvested, getting it to where it needs to go. I want to support a solution to end hunger, not the cause. This is the most preventable problem that we’ve got.” Unfortunately, it is a growing one. She notes, “There are 49 million people (16 millions of them children) in this country who don’t know where their next meal is coming from. That’s about 800,000 people in the Bay State, over 200,000 of them are kids. Hunger relief has to be able to evolve to meet the world where it’s at right now.”

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Save on Taste of the Nation Tickets in DC, NY + SF and Help No Kid Hungry End Childhood Hunger

TOTNEvery year, in cities across the country, the nation’s top chefs, mixologists, brewers, winemakers, and more, come together at Taste of the Nation® the premier culinary benefits, events to stand with Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign to end childhood hunger. Nearly half of all children in the U.S. will be on food stamps at the some point in their life. Each ticket purchased for these events supports Share Our Strength’s efforts to eliminate childhood hunger and supports local beneficiaries. We’re pleased to announce that OpenTable diners can enjoy exclusive discounts to upcoming events in New York, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.

Taste of the Nation New York City will be held April 28, 2014. Featuring more than 75 of New York City’s most notable chefs and bartenders under one roof at 82 Mercer, supporters can savor dishes and drinks from the city’s top culinary talent. Use discount code OTNYC to save 20% on VIP + General Admission ticketsBuy now!

Taste of the Nation San Francisco will be held Monday, March 27, 2014. Join us at The Metreon to sample the Bay Area’s bites and drinks. Use discount code TOTNSF14OT to save 20% on VIP + General Admission tickets. Buy now!

Taste of the Nation Washington, D.C. will be held March 31, 2014. Held at the National Building Museum, Washington’s finest restaurants and chefs will gather at this momentous event to dazzle diners with a night of culinary excellence. Use discount code OTWDC to save 20% on VIP + General Admission tickets. Buy now!Continue Reading

Enter the #ShareMyPlate Instagram Contest to Help No Kid Hungry End Childhood Hunger

ShareMyPlateLove snapping pics of your plate? Into sharing your shots on Instagram? Then participate in Sysco’s #ShareMyPlate Instagram contest to help end childhood hunger in America!

Dine out at your favorite OpenTable restaurant, take an Instagram of your meal, and tag it with #ShareMyPlate — and Sysco will donate 50 cents for every photo shared to No Kid Hungry. Plus, the best photos will win prizes: $1,000, $500, and $250 for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd prizes respectively.

Eat often! Share often! Give often! Winning photos will be selected by Food Network celebrity Chef Robert Irvine. Contest ends March 5, 2014. Learn more at http://statigr.am/contest/ppgr/share-my-plate and snap away today!