The Vashon-Maury Community Food Bank and three island restaurants are partnering in a new program, called Dine Out Against Hunger.
The participating restaurants are The Hardware Store Restaurant, Gravy and May Kitchen + Bar. The program is simple: One night a month, each of the restaurants will donate 10 percent of its food and drink proceeds to the food bank in July, August and September on a rotating basis.
The idea to work together in this way came about in a recent conversation between food bank board member Eric Pryne and Hardware Store owner Melinda Powers.
“It’s so simple,” Pryne said. “All people need to do is eat dinner and pay their bill. Restaurants do the rest.”
Pryne added that he hopes the program will not only raise money, but also increase awareness about food insecurity and hunger on the island.
“We would like people to think about the fact that when you eat out at these places these nights, you are not just feeding yourselves, but helping to feed neighbors and friends,” he said.
While a representative from May Kitchen + Bar could not be reached by press time, owners of the other two participating restaurants shared their enthusiasm.
Powers noted that she is happy to be participating with the two other restaurants and that she has wanted to collaborate with the food bank for a long time, but had not come up with a good way to do it until now.
“We want to be inclusive with who we feed or help feed on the island,” she said in a recent email. “I hope our community embraces it and dines with all three restaurants on their given nights so we can help enrich the food bank to continue doing the great job they do.”
Gravy’s Pepa Brower said that her restaurant, too, is pleased to participate, stating simply that it is the right thing to do.
“It was a very easy decision to make to give back to the community in this way,” she said.
She noted that she hopes the dine-out program will also benefit Gravy, as it has been open for two years, and she still hears from people who say they did not know the restaurant was there.
“We are doing all we can to support the community, and we would like the community to support us back,” she said.
The dine-out program will be in place for three months and then evaluated, Pryne said.
The Hardware Store Restaurant will participate the second Wednesday of each month: July 11, Aug. 8 and Sept. 12.
May Kitchen + Bar will participate on the third Wednesday of the month: July 18, Aug. 15 and Sept. 19.
Gravy will take part on the fourth Thursday of each month: July 26, Aug. 23 and Sept. 27.
Ten percent of the revenue will be donated from between 5 p.m. and closing.
Vashon’s food bank was founded in 1977 and last year provided groceries to one in every eight Vashon households, including seniors, people with disabilities, people working in low-wage jobs and children. Last summer the food banks’ popular Picnics in the Park program provided 4,400 lunches to children last year and hopes to serve 4,800 this summer.
— Sarah Low also provided reporting for this story.