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National Restaurant Association - SOS, NRA execs celebrate Dine Out program's success

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SOS, NRA execs celebrate Dine Out program's success

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Share Our Strength, a national nonprofit focusing on kid nutrition, this week is celebrating the success of its annual Dine Out for No Kid Hungry campaign, an initiative aimed at ending childhood hunger by 2015.

According to Debbie Shore, co-founder of SOS, the weeklong event, which began Sept. 18 and runs through Sept. 24, this year attracted participation from thousands of restaurants across the country and is on track to raise $2.5 million.

"This year has been bigger and better than ever," she said. "We are at almost 6,000 restaurants this year, up from nearly 5,000 last year. I think helping this cause resonates in a huge way with restaurateurs because they feed families and understand that there are kids who don't have access to nourishing meals. By participating in Dine Out for No Kid Hungry, they are discovering they can do a couple of things: retain staff engagement and serve the community."

Shore said SOS, which supports hunger-relief programs, said participating restaurants of the Dine Out donate a percentage of the week's sales and hold special promotions that also raise funds. She thanked the National Restaurant Association for its support and sponsorship of the program, saying: "The NRA has been a tremendous partner for us."

Alyssa Prince, the NRA's senior director of community affairs, said the association is proud to be involved with SOS and Dine Out for No Kid Hungry.

"We, and the members of our industry, are committed to helping Share Our Strength raise awareness and funds to support its mission of ending childhood hunger," she said. "As an industry association, there is a logical connection to support initiatives that feed and serve people."

Shore said her organization's goal is to raise $150 million to ensure that 17 million, or one out of five, currently at-risk children are fed.

"There are now 45 million Americans on food stamps, and there are new populations of people who never had to rely on this or had to worry about supper or weekend meals, but now [need] support from programs," she said. "Food is available, but there are barriers."

Dean Feddaoui, general manager of the Beacon Hotel Bar & Grill in Washington, D.C., said he is pleased his restaurant has been able to participate in the Dine Out campaign.

"It's been going really well," he said. "Our staff has been trained to know what to say and sell. Everyone is aware they must consistently let the guests know we are doing this. The more money we make, the more money the charity gets. We're happy to do it because it goes to good cause - it's for children."

Pictured, from left, are Alyssa Prince, senior director of community affairs for the NRA, Debbie Shore, co-founder of Share Our Strength, and Sue Hensley, senior vice president of public affairs communications

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