Restaurant Week raises $10k for Food Bank

news-foodbank-foodFood, glorious food! Our local chapter of the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank gave out 1.8 million pounds of food last year.

If you were one of the 18 restaurants or 10,156 customers who participated in the Hook’s Restaurant Week January 25-31 ( despite a January 30 snowstorm that dumped 10 inches of snow) please pat yourself on the back. As a result of your hard work and enjoyment, the Thomas Jefferson Branch of the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank Network received a pack of checks March 25 for $10,156–-a dollar for every $26 prix fixe meal sold went to the non-profit dedicated to feeding the hungry.

During a ceremony at the Food Bank’s Harris Street warehouse, which distributed 1.8 million pounds of food last year, Hook editor Hawes Spencer handed over the envelope chock full o' checks to Blue Ridge Area Food Bank CEO Lawrence Zippin.

As Zippin pointed out, there’s been a 152 percent increase in the number of people needing assistance over the last ten years, with a big spike over the last couple, as the recession is beginning to hurt the middle class as well. According to the Food Bank’s head of development Michael McKee, that $10,156 will cover 30,000 meals.

news-foodbank-zippinBlue Ridge Area Food Bank CEO Lawrence Zippin accepts the checks from Hook editor Hawes Spencer

“We act mostly as wholesalers, but have direct services, too, like our backpack program,” says McKee, “which gives kids a normal looking backpack at the end of every school week, with seven meals inside for the weekend.”

Sadly, McKee says he has heard stories about families trying to make those backpack meals last all week, a clear sign that people are needing assistance more than ever. Remarkably, McKee says that it only cost the Food Bank $190 a year per child to fund the program.

Overall, January’s Restaurant Week event contributed $253,900 in sales at participating restaurants, not including tax, tip, and beverage, and plans are already in the works for Restaurant Week III, which will be held July 12–18.


Over $250,000 was spent by people stuffing their faces and we are supposed to pat eveyone on the back for donating $10,000 to feeding the hungry. Wow, Hawes, what a saint you are!

nice work, Hawes. You singlehandedly created an event that helps both the Food Bank and the local business community!

Citizen, I agree with you but you should know that this type of initiative is replicated everyday:

This is the kind of initiative we better all be cooking up; if we're not going to raise taxes, and are therefore cutting services to the poor, and now the middle class, as well. Even our community is being hit hard by this downturn, and people, who never imagined being short of food, are. Congratulations to the Hook for spearheading this and for all the restaurants that joined in.

As we look around the world at all the suffering and starvation, we also need to open our hearts and pocketbooks and care for our own community.

Wow, Hawes is tall.