Local Restaurants Join Program to Feed Hungry

Select local restaurants are adding a new option for patrons – a chance to choose a healthier sized portion of food and to help feed hungry people in our community.

ProMedica FoodShare encourages local restaurants to fight hunger by providing funds for local food banks while helping their customers stay healthier with a smaller portion size. When patrons at a participating restaurant choose to take part, they select a designated item from the menu and receive a smaller, healthier portion size of that item, while still paying the same price. Then, a percent of the cost for that menu item is donated to a local food agency providing food to those in need.

The idea originated from James Huttner, MD, a local physician who noticed the large portions often provided at restaurants, as well as the need for better portion control for health and the needs of the local community related to food insecurity. It stems from ProMedica’s Come to the Table initiative to raise awareness about hunger in our communities and to increase access to healthier food among under-served populations.

Gaye Martin, manager of mission services at ProMedica, adds that the interest of local restaurants is important to the success of the program. “Engaging restaurants furthers the reach of these messages and provides an opportunity for education on portion control and food insecurity,” she said. “Many restaurants are engaged in helping the community in various ways. This program is one way of spreading the message of hunger and providing a reminder about portion sizes.”

ProMedica is currently working with restaurants to kick off the program, with The Beirut, Byblos, The Blarney Irish Pub, and Focaccia’s being the first to implement in the coming month.

Ed Beczynski, owner of The Blarney Irish Pub and Focaccia’s said, “We’re happy to participate in the ProMedica FoodShare program, where our patrons can designate half of the cost of their French fries to local foodbanks, which will help those in need here, locally.”

Martin said that the intention is to expand the program to more restaurants, even outside of Toledo. “We hope to expand this program into the larger community of northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan, and beyond. Any restaurant can participate and help their local food programs.”

For more information about the ProMedica FoodShare program, contact ComeToTheTable@ProMedica.org.