Savory feeling: Restaurant Week rocked Food Bank w/$13K

The sixth Charlottesville Restaurant Week took place in late January, but the savory flavors linger– especially for the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank, which learned this week that the city-wide wintertime culinary event yielded a nearly $13,000 donation.

"With this money, we can provide over 50,000 meals," says Food Bank spokesperson Ruth Jones, noting that the single dollar donated for each Restaurant Week meal translates into four meals for the hungry. The Food Bank, which has been the Hook-sponsored event's charity recipient three times, will soon be getting checks totalling $12,697.

"If you add up all of the donations that we've been given through Restaurant Week thus far, it's allowed us to serve well over 120,000 meals," says Jones, noting that while the economy may be looking up in some sectors, hunger is still a serious problem in Central Virginia. 

"Last I saw, we're serving twice as much food to twice as many people as five years ago," says Jones, noting that the non-profit group provides 17 million meals annually in the 25 counties and nine Central Virginia cities it serves.

The Hook launched Restaurant Week back in January 2009 with just eight participating eateries and no charitable component. The most recent Restaurant Week featured 20 varied restaurants including such old-time favorites as the Aberdeen Barn and upstarts such as Tempo, each serving a three-course meal for a flat fee of $26.

In all, Charlottesville Restaurant Weeks have brought in more than $55,000 for charities including the Food Bank, the PB&J Fund, and Meals on Wheels, according to Hook publisher Anna Harrison; and the timing of this cash influx is especially good, says the Food Bank's Jones, citing a recent 38 percent drop in food provided by the USDA and bemoaning a typical spring and summer slump in private donations.

"It'll help us continue to purchase more food and keep shelves stocked," says Jones.