Get ready to see diners enjoying orange-hued meals at local restaurants all September — for a good cause. “Eating for Orange,” a partnership between local food blogger Kate Schlientz (founder of IntoxiKate), Feeding Westchester, and more than 50 county restaurants, helps raise awareness for the estimated 20 percent of Westchester residents who are at risk of food insecurity.
In a county as affluent as Westchester, that stat is hard to believe, but the effects of COVID-19 have accelerated the need for food locally as well as nationally.
This year, Feeding Westchester has distributed on average 1.6 million pounds of food per month through its community partners and direct distributions, which equates to approximately 1.4 million meals 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 crisis last year.” 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 Kate Schlientz shares, “This year, our efforts are more important than ever. Not only is the need greater, but with the current staffing and financial limitations of the restaurant industry due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many restaurants simply cannot afford to participate in off-site events supporting local charities. These 50 restaurants quickly signed on for an initiative to help do what they love: feed people. They are lending their collective voice — through their Facebook and Instagram channels — to shed light on a very important local topic and engage their followers with ways they can help.”
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.
Erren shares, “We are so incredibly thankful to Kate Schlientz and her Eating for Orange campaign, as well as the local hospitality and restaurant community — who themselves have endured so many challenges over the last 18 months — for their ongoing support of Feeding Westchester and our mission to nourish our neighbors in the fight against hunger.”
“It has always been a cornerstone of our mission to help our community,” says Peter Liu, owner of O Mandarin Restaurant.
As a gluten-free, plant-based eatery, Green & Tonic takes great pride in serving our communities healthy and delicious sustainable food,” adds Cory Bronson, director of marketing at Green & Tonic. “With locations across Westchester, it is our distinct privilege to support Feeding Westchester in the all-important mission to nourish our neighbors in the fight against hunger.”
“As a brand-new restaurant in Westchester, we find it incredibly rewarding and important to connect with our local community in as many ways as possible,” notes Lauren Candee, co-owner of Dinh Dinh Kitchen. “Joining this mission to support Feeding Westchester gives us not only a way to connect to the people around us but also to give back to those in need. We look forward to the excitement we’ll feel as we explain the importance of supporting this cause (and ordering our orange dish!) to our customers each day in the month of September.”
“It’s been a difficult, long road up to this point, especially running multiple restaurants with extreme shortages of manpower, and the pandemic nightmare is not over,” chef-owner Mogan Anthony says. “The amount of support I received from Westchester folks is mind-blowing. I love to give back to my community to show my gratitude. Thank you to Kate for doing this!”
“I am well aware just how taxed local restaurant owners and chefs are currently,” Schlientz notes. “And yet, each and every one of them signed on, putting together a really creative and delicious lineup of orange-colored and -flavored dishes.”
For a full list of participating restaurants, click here.