Daily bite: Dine out and do good with Restaurants for Change

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It could not be easier to raise money for the empowering food programs. On October 17, various restaurants in 19 Canadian cities will be donating some or all of their profits to Community Food Centres of Canada. Funds raised will directly support low-income Canadians in more than 10 communities. So, just grab some friends, make a reservation at one of the 75 restaurants, and enjoy your meal knowing that the money you paid is going to a great cause.

This is the 5th anniversary of Restaurants for Change, and it keeps growing each year. The fundraiser has raised more than $700,000 for Community Food Centres Canada, which supports 10 community food centres and more than 100 Good Food Organizations across Canada.

The Alex in Calgary and The Stop in Toronto are examples of how community food centres provide access to healthy food, build better health, skills, and a sense of community. In cities where there is a Community Food Centre, proceeds from the evening are shared between that centre and Community Food Centres Canada. Other funds raised help CFCC support more than 140 Good Food Organizations across Canada to offer empowering food programs in their communities.

Like a “best of” dining list from each city, participating restaurants include Bar Raval and Richmond Station in Toronto; Cluck N Cleaver, CHARCUT and Teatro in Calgary; Atelier in Ottawa, Montreal’s Alma and Garde Manger; Burdock and Co. in Vancouver; The Canteen on Portland in Dartmouth and Mallard Cottage in Newfoundland.

The lead chef ambassadors are no strangers to do doing good either. Carl Heinrich from Richmond Station, Ben Kramer from Winnipeg, Dartmouth’s Renee Lavallee and Todd Perrin were some of the participants at the Chef Bootcamp for Policy and Social Change, run by the Community Food Centres Canada and the James Beard House. Celebrity chef Hugh Acheson from Atlanta (one of Canada’s Iron Chefs), was there to help guide the discussion around labour skills, equity, climate change and access to healthy food. Mitchell Davis from the James Beard House in New York, who has ran the boot camps with American chefs for years, says that chefs are uniquely poised to make social change because they deal with so many of those issues regularly.

In fact, Hugh Acheson attended the boot camp a few years ago and was so motivated by the discussion that he started Seed to Life Skills, a foundation that supports the revamping of the home economics courses in middle schools in the U.S.

For a full list of participating restaurants in each city, visit Restaurantsforchange.ca.