Melissa D’Arabian, celebrity chef on the Food Network, is about to show the world how dining out can help kids who are in need. Along with Clay Done, “No Kid Hungry” chief brand officer, they are rolling out the “Dine Out for Kid Hungry” campaign. Not only is she on the Food Network, but D’Arabian is a best-selling author and mother of four. She knows a thing or two about cooking.
The Inquisitr had the opportunity to speak with Melissa D’Arabian and Clay Done about “Dine Out for No Kid Hungry” and where they imagine this initiative moving forward.
Inquisitr: What both of you are doing is amazing. Anytime you can go into the non-profit sector, not only that, but give back is a great thing. Talk about the “No Kid Hungry” campaign and what it’s all about.
Melissa D’Arabian: In this country, we have one-in-five children who are struggling with hunger. That’s a big number. “No Kid Hungry” is ending childhood hunger by connecting those children with the healthy food they need. They’re doing that with long-term solutions such as a breakfast in the classroom, or breakfast in school.
“Dine Out for No Kid Hungry” is an exciting time of the year. It’s the whole month of September and it really shows the entire restaurant industry coming together. There are over 8,000 restaurants partners that are out there coming together to support “No Kid Hungry.” What’s exciting is the general public can participate too; just by doing something they would do anyway.
It’s easy and it’s fun and it’s going to make a difference and that is just going to some of your favorite restaurants to dine out sometime during the month of September.
Clay Done: With one-of-five children struggling with hunger, we see kids all across the world showing up for school not having had the proper nutrition that they need in order to learn, focus and live up to their full potential. What we’re really focused on in “No Kid Hungry” is surrounding kids with the food that they need where they live, learn and play, so that they can be the very best versions of themselves.
So, that means things like getting them breakfast before school, snacks and suppers when school lets out. Meals in the summertime when schools are closed, but their need for food still remains. We’re so fortunate to have amazing partners in the restaurant industry in helping us.
With more than 8,000 restaurants participating in the “Dine Out for No Kid Hungry” campaign this September, we’re really seeing the industry come together and say that they are going to take responsibility for ending childhood hunger in this country, really own this issue and engage their employees and customers in this cause.
We’re so fortunate to have their support this September and we hope that the public visits these restaurants and supports the cause and these businesses at the same time.
Inquisitr: Around the world, there are a lot of childhood hunger campaigns by doing what you are doing. What makes you two different and what sets “No Kid Hungry” apart from every other foundation in the world?
Clay Done: The “No Kid Hungry” campaign is focused first on primarily ending childhood hunger in America. We believe that hunger isn’t something that just need addressing here and there, that it’s an issue that needs our whole attention that every child in this country deserves to have the food that they need in order to grow up, be healthy and be successful.
So, we’re also engaging partners all cross this country in every community to help bring local solutions to the problem of hunger, because hunger might look different in one city versus a more rural area. It’s still hunger and it still needs addressing. So, we’re looking at these comprehensive solutions that can be rolled out in communities across the country and that are helping to feed kids every day.
Inquisitr: Melissa, speaking of feeding kids around the world, why is it so important for kids to start out with a healthy breakfast?
Melissa D’Arabian: It’s true. I have four daughters who are in that elementary school age and I see what happens to them if they miss even one healthy meal. They just aren’t as focused and aren’t as able to take in whatever they’re learning at school. Add that everyday and through the long-term effects of not having a healthy meal in your stomach and you can see that 20 percent of this nations’ children are not being fueled properly to receive the eduction that we, as a nation, say is so important.
I was on a school-lunch program growing up. So, I have been in a classroom and sat there in a chair hungry. Then, I have also been in that same chair, same classroom and not hungry after I was put on the school-lunch program and I wasn’t hungry. I focused better. Same student, same teacher but completely different academic experience.
I’m blessed because I went on to college, had good grades and become a good student who went to graduate school. How much of that all ties back to those early days of being able to focus and listen and take that in? This is a fun campaign to go out and go out to eat and every dollar raised is going to connect a child with 10 meals. That’s all very exciting and fun. It’s easy. One dollar doesn’t sound like a lot, but it’s also very important. It really moves the needle for somebody and one small change in somebody’s early-childhood can completely change the trajectory their life.
Inquisitr: Where can we get more information about participating restaurants in our area and where can we learn more information on the web?
Clay Done: You just need to visit nokidhungry.org. You can find restaurants in your area who are participating and learn about their promotions. It runs through the month of September. You have lots of chances to dine out and do good at the same time.
[Image via foodnetwork.com]