After writing this blog for nearly four years, I think I can safely make some assumptions about you, my readers. Assumption one: you like food. Two: you like food prepared by one of our many talented chefs. Three: You’re pro Cleveland and will always support local when able. Four: You care about this community and supporting others when in need. Five: You have $5.
(and I’m willing to bet you’d happily exchange that $5 for free dinner out the rest of the year.)
After meeting Farmer Lee Jones, I learned about the Veggie U initiative, a national program that promotes the well-being of children through a healthy lifestyle with a focus on making wise food choices, combating adolescent and juvenile disease, and attaining an understanding of sustainable agriculture. The program is embraced and loved by teachers and students alike. Locally, 150 schools in the Cleveland Metro School District have been using the 4th grade Veggie U science program. Unfortunately, they don’t have any funding to continue as $200 per classroom is needed to fund the kits.
On the way home from that initial meeting and fabulous dinner, we had an idea to try to help these students and teachers. Would you be willing to donate a minimum of $5 to help this cause? That’s your morning Starbucks. If we all help and spread the word, we have an opportunity to make a difference here. And if you’ve watched the news lately, you know Cleveland students can use a little bit of good news.
If you donate $5 to Veggie U, you will automatically be entered to win more than $1,900 worth of gift cards to all your favorite eateries and shops. Want to increase your odds? Donate $10, $25, $50 or more (I promise you won’t miss $25). For every $5 you donate, you will earn another entry into the drawing. The more you donate, the greater your chance of winning. You have until February 12 to donate and be entered. It’s easy – just call 419.499.7500; you must reference Cleveland Foodie (a winner will be picked using random.org).
As soon as we worked out all the details with Veggie U, I reached out to the chefs and owners to share the idea and ask for support. Almost immediately I started to hear back. The backing of our food community and willingness to work together to help all sorts of causes beyond this is inspiring, admirable and personally greatly appreciated by myself. Thank you to everyone for your generosity and willingness to pitch in.
One incredibly lucky diner will spend the year eating and drinking their way throughout Cleveland:Western Reserve Wine / $50 gift card Tartine / $50 gift card Momocho / $50 gift card (Eric Williams also generously donated an additional $200 to fund one classroom) Lola / $50 gift card The Greenhouse Tavern / $50 gift card Heinen’s / $100 gift card Blue Canyon / $50 gift card The Flying Fig / $100 gift card Fire / $50 gift card Erie Island Coffee / $50 gift card Fahrenheit / $50 gift card Miles Farmers Market / $50 gift card Jekyll’s Kitchen / $50 gift card Moxie / $200 gift card!! Touch Supper Club / $50 gift card Parallax / $50 gift card L’Albatros / $50 gift card Chinato / $50 gift card (now open) Crop Bistro / $50 gift card North End / $50 gift card Hyde Park / $50 gift card AMP 150 / $100 gift card Muse (The Ritz-Carlton) / Farmer’s Market dinner for two The Chocolate Bar / $50 gift card Michaelangelo’s / $50 gift card John Q’s Steakhouse / $50 gift card Melange / $50 gift card Bistro on Lincoln Park / $50 gift card
And to top it all off, the winner will receive one ticket to their choice of upcoming dinners at The Culinary Vegetable Institute (you’re in for a real treat here) and The Chefs Garden will send you one of their e-commerce family boxes.
To kick it off, Jamie and I will donate $100 (we will not be counted for the drawing). Would you also consider making a pledge? I know times are tough for many, and if you can’t, it’s completely understandable. But if you’re able to give something back and if you’re a follower of this blog I can only assume it’s a greater cause that matters to you, please call. Let’s follow the lead of our chefs and local owners and show what the Cleveland food community can accomplish when we work together.
Update: Just learned that The Culinary Vegetable Institute will give a copy of the 2009 official cookbook of the Food & Wine Celebration to the first 40 people that donate $50 or more!