Chow down for charity

On Tuesday, Aug. 29, many restaurants in New Hampshire and across the country will be participating in Share Our Strength’s “Restaurants for Relief 2,” a national dine-out event where eateries will donate a portion of their sales to ongoing relief efforts in the Gulf Coast destroyed by last year’s hurricanes.

Shortly after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans and other parts of the Gulf on Aug. 29, 2005, chefs from New Hampshire and around the country contacted Share Our Strength and wanted to aid the relief efforts in New Orleans and the other areas devastated by Hurricane Katrina.

“We quickly put together a dine-out charity event pulling together 850 restaurants across the country. We were able to $1.2 million,” said Elizabeth Wrege, communications director for Share Our Strength.

One year later, the Gulf Coast region is still feeling the effects of Hurricane Katrina as thousands of residents have yet to return to their homes in the states of Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi.

This year, 1,500 restaurants, from fast food shops like Arby’s to elite dining establishments like French Laundry in Napa Valley, are signed up to participate, said Wrege, “so we’re hoping to raise even more.”

Michael Buckley, chef and owner of Michael Timothy’s and Surf in Nashua and Buckley’s in Merrimack, said he just wanted to help out in some way.

“We will be donating half of our proceeds from special menus we are putting together for each restaurant,” said Buckley. “We’re just looking to cover our costs and the rest will go to the relief effort.”

He added that the more people that take part in the event, the more that can be donated.

“We’re looking to donate at least $3,000 or more,” said Buckley.

Wrege said this year’s proceeds will be going toward programs to rebuild the food service and delivery infrastructure and the hospitality industry in the Gulf region, the creation of a resource guide for displaced food service and hospitality workers, summer meal and school meal programs, and rebuilding school cafeterias.

Share Our Strength, a national nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., was founded in 1984 with a mission to end hunger around the world by mobilizing America’s food service industry, awarding grants to effective nonprofit organizations and by providing nutrition education programs.

To find a participating restaurant in New Hampshire, visit — CINDY KIBBE

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