In a county as affluent as Westchester, it’s hard to believe that anyone could be hungry. But according to Feeding Westchester, formerly Food Bank for Westchester, one in five county residents (which accounts to some 200,000) is food insecure. To raise awareness during Hunger Action Month each September, local food blogger Kate Schlientz (founder of IntoxiKate) kicks off the Eating for Orange campaign, now in its third year, in collaboration with Feeding Westchester. This year, 35 Westchester restaurants and shops will participate by featuring an orange-hued dish (orange is the official color of Hunger Action Month) on the menu to promote via social media as part of the awareness campaign.
Schlientz says, “When [Feeding Westchester] came to me three years ago about creating an initiative for Hunger Action Month, I thought a collaborative social media campaign would be the perfect answer. It was easy for restaurants to participate, and I am grateful they are lending their digital footprint and voices to Feeding Westchester for the month!”
“We love when people bring us their best ideas. Kate came to us with this unique concept and we ran with it. It’s all about collaborating with the community where we are trying to make a difference,” says Feeding Westchester president and CEO Leslie Gordon.
Squash Risotto from L’inizio
This year, more restaurants and shops than ever are participating, including Irvington’s Sambal, L’Inizio in Ardsley, Sonora in Port Chester, The 808 Bistro in Scarsdale, and The Dessertist in Croton-on-Hudson. (For a full list of participating restaurants, click here.)
New this year is a personal donation component. If diners visit a participating restaurant this month, and share a photo on social media, while tagging @FeedingWestchester and @IntoxiKateFoodie, Schlientz will personally donate $1 to Feeding Westchester, up to $500.
At L’inizio in Ardsley, husband-wife team Scott and Heather Fratangelo will be serving two orange-colored dishes: a saffron, butternut squash, and pancetta risotto, and an orange brown-butter cake. “It’s staggering to hear that 200,000 people in Westchester are food insecure. It is very disconcerting,” says Scott. “We want to do our part to help, and Feeding Westchester is amazing to collaborate with. The Eating for Orange model is an easy way for small businesses to get involved, but it has big impact.”
Brown Butter Cake from L’inizio
Jerry Dejesus of New Rochelle’s North End Tavern says that this cause hits close to home. “Growing up, [we] moved to Westchester from the South Bronx when I was five years old. It was very hard for my family, but my parents wanted a better life for us. We never knew where our next meal was coming from, and I remember being hungry. We basically lived on white rice and eggs because that’s what my parents could afford. I totally understand the importance of Feeding Westchester and an initiative like Eating for Orange.”
Schlientz says, “The collaborative effort is a way to inform people about the issue, but also educate them about the many programs Feeding Westchester implements to help feed those in need.” For more information about Feeding Westchester’s programs and other Hunger Action Month events, including their Miles for Meals 5K on September 22, click here.
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