Sambal | All photos courtesy Kate Schlientz
More than 30 Westchester restaurants and shops are banding together to help raise awareness during Hunger Action Month.
Get ready to see diners enjoying orange-hued meals at local restaurants all September — for a good cause. For the fifth year in a row, the Eating for Orange campaign, a partnership between local food blogger Kate Schlientz (founder of IntoxiKate), Feeding Westchester, and more than 30 county restaurants, helps raise awareness for the estimated 37% of Westchester residents who are at risk of food insecurity.
In a county as affluent as Westchester, it is hard to fathom that two of every five families are at risk of hunger, but the effects of COVID-19 have accelerated the need for food locally as well as nationally.
In the 2022 fiscal year, Feeding Westchester distributed 19 million pounds of food and on average serves 200,000 people each month. For reference, in 2020, those numbers were 1.8 million pounds per month, (around 1.5 million meals), and in 2019, 975,000 pounds, equating 800,000 meals. Karen C. Erren, president and CEO of Feeding Westchester, explains that these numbers show the food bank is still working in the “same mode that we were during the height of the unknown and the pandemic.” She says, “The reality is the need for food in Westchester has not decreased dramatically in our area. We are still seeing 100,000+ more neighbors in need of food each month than we did prior to the pandemic.”
Yonkers resident and Eating for Orange organizer Kate Schlientz shares, “IntoxiKate’s Eating for Orange was created in 2017 as a way to create awareness around ways we can all help Feeding Westchester and with their many efforts. It was also a strategic, easy way restaurants could support their community.”
Participating restaurants span the county, from Ardsley to Port Chester and from Tarrytown to Yonkers. The chefs are creating orange-inspired dishes that include seasonal staples, gluten-free, and vegetarian options.
Those hungry to help are asked to visit participating restaurants, try the orange-themed dishes, and help spread awareness by sharing their experience on social media and tagging @intoxikatefoodie and @feedingwestchester.
For every post tagged, Schlientz will donate $1 to the organization, up to $500. This year, those diners who participate will also be entered to win gift certificates from participating restaurants. “We’re giving away hundreds of dollars in gift certificates to support our local participants,” says Schlientz.
This year, Schlientz is also hosting events with area partners to continue to educate the public.
On Saturday, September 10, the public is invited to open skate at Westchester Skating Academy (WSA) in Elmsford from 1:30-3 p.m. WSA will be donating a portion of the public skating cost to Feeding Westchester. Make sure to register in advance here.
On Wednesday, September 21, ice cream saves the day with Scoops for a Cause at Penny Lick Ice Cream in Hastings on Hudson from 6-8 p.m. Schlientz will be scooping ice cream for patrons. A portion of the sales will be donated to Feeding Westchester.
On Thursday, September 27, join the IntoxiKate Cocktail Club at The Greekish in Harrison from 6:30-8 p.m., where you’ll learn how to create an orange cocktail. A total of $5 from each ticket sale will be donated to Feeding Westchester. Tickets are $35 per person.
“We have always supported Feeding Westchester and we will continue to do so,” L’inizio (Ardsley) chef and owner Scott Fratangelo says. “This year has been incredibly taxing for everyone, but especially the restaurant industry. The Eating for Orange campaign is a way we can easily help educate our followers on ways they can take action during Hunger Action Month. It also encourages people to dine out at participating restaurants.”
“This month is really focused on hunger awareness and creating a dialogue,” Schlientz says. “What better way to have a conversation than over great food?”
“The pandemic has caused more food insecurity, so now more than ever it is imperative that we draw attention to Feeding Westchester and the good work they do to help alleviate and hopefully eradicate this problem,” Maria Valente, owner of Chocolations in Mamaroneck shares.