Once again, Houstonians have demonstrated their fondness for doing good while eating well via the month-long Houston Restaurant Weeks fundraiser. At a press conference Wednesday, organizer Cleverley Stone revealed that the event's 10th year set a new record. This year's total is $1,285,260.
That's an increase of approximately five percent over last year's total of $1.222 million. Stone notes that the additional $62,000-plus means the Food Bank will be able to serve 187,000 more meals than last year.
Houston Restaurant Weeks "is the largest single annual fundraiser for the largest food bank in the nation," Stone notes.
Typically, Greene says, families are forced to choose between paying rent and buying food.
That money goes to benefit the one million people in southeast Texas who are food insecure, according to Food Bank chairman of the board John Ragan. While families may be able to afford low quality food, Ragan said the Food Bank makes it possible for them to consume more nutritious fare.
Food Bank president and CEO Brian Greene reminded attendees that, while the numbers can seem abstract, "behind every number is a family with a story." Typically, Greene says, families are forced to choose between paying rent and buying food. "Parents do the suffering, but, at some point, the money runs out and everybody loses."
Houston Restaurant Weeks' 186 participating restaurants helped combat that reality by offering $20 lunch and brunch, $35 brunch and dinner and a new $45 dinner menu that contributed $3, $5 and $7 respectively per meal to the Food Bank. According to Stone, the event has turned August from a slow period for restaurants into a profitable month. Stone stated that, as a result of HRW, restaurants no longer lay off staff during August and even valet parkers make more money.
Restaurant have until Oct. 31 to submit their donations to the Food Bank. If any restaurants are tardy, Stone makes sure they honor their commitment.
"I'm quite a good collection agent," she says. "If you don't pay, I will be contacting you."