Dinner and a Good Deed

29Jul09

So there’s this great cause that you want to help out but you’re beyond busy and just know that you don’t have time? Think again, my friends, because giving can be easier and more convenient than you think!

Today I got home from a long, dragged out day of work (why doesn’t 5:30 ever come any sooner?), walked in the door, and had no idea what to do. I’m tired, I thought, but dangit I’m hungry too. And, of course there’s not much in the way of food in my house. Since I can’t throw peanut butter and diced bell peppers together into some kind of magically delicious culinary masterpiece, it sounded like the perfect excuse to head out somewhere for a real dinner. But where to go? Fortunately, I met this really great kid tonight who was thinking six steps ahead of me.

As part of his internship for American Cancer Society this summer, this little guy has been helping out on various projects involving wrangling in volunteers and organizing events. For tonight, he set up this great little fundraising night at Mellow Mushroom in Buckhead. The deal – if he’ll get hungry people in the door for dinner, the restaurant will donate part of the food sales to the cause. Throw in a raffle to flex a little extra fundraising muscle and a dash of really great prizes and presto…a recipe for some easy doinGood! Half a dozen hungry tables of friends, family, and random strangers ate pizza, won prizes (including yours truly – who will be using this gift certificate to Intermezzo on an upcoming date), but more importantly, raised money for ACS and boosted the confidence of a high school junior. So props to Palani – you did good!

Personally, I think these fundraising restaurants nights are fantastic for a number of reasons. While I realize the economy is pretty tight right now, if people are going to save up to go out to eat one night, why not make it a meal with a purpose? And I know that, as someone who eats out more often that I’d care to admit, I definitely give more buzz and more props to restaurants that are involved in our community. Fortunately, we’ve got a bunch of really great restaurants/restaurant groups here in Atlanta that are down to help a great cause. Shouts out to Tavern at Phipps (yum, tavern chips!) for raising money for a kids camp through the sales of a special drink at the bar. I’ve noticed that my local Chick-Fil-A does fundraising nights for local schools all the time…as if I needed another excuse as to why the ChickfilA sandwich is a food group in my diet. Tin Lizzy’s recently collected donations for the Atlanta 2 Day. And the Fifth Group restaurants have been very kind as to host my Young Professionals volunteer group’s most recent networking-for-a-cause at El Taco over in Virginia Highlands. It’s a win-win for everyone: organizations raise money, restaurants have an easy way to drive additional traffic into their establishment, and hungry people get to take a bite out of their to-do lists by knocking off two items: donating to their cause of choice and getting their grub on!

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