Houston Restaurant Weeks Makes $1.2 Million For Food Bank

A local fundraising event known as Houston restaurant weeks raised a surprising amount of money this year. This year's donation to the Houston Food Bank is 53 percent higher than last year.

Every August, dozens of high-end restaurants offer special lunch and dinner courses and donate part of the proceeds to the Houston Food Bank.

Cleverley Stone started the event back in 2003. She says many cities have a restaurant week, but Houston is one of the only cities to use the event to benefit a charity.

"Our first donation to the Houston Food Bank in 2003 was about $5,000. I had kind of a hard time convincing 16 restaurants to participate."

The event grew from one week to the entire month of August, with 169 restaurants serving a quarter of a million meals to Houston diners. That resulted in a staggering donation to the food bank of $1.2 million.

"Many restaurants have told me, unsolicited, that this past August 2012 was their very best month on record since their respective restaurants have been open."

Historically, the month of August is one of the slowest in the restaurant industry.  

Houston Food Bank CEO Brian Greene says every dollar donated provides three meals to people going hungry in Houston.

"So every meal that was had at a restaurant, every meal was actually for us 15 meals going out to some family in need or an individual. So does this make a difference? Ask that family who tonight will have a meal that otherwise would not."

Houston Restaurant Weeks is a volunteer-run effort with 100 percent of the proceeds going to the food bank.

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Laurie Johnson

Local Host, All Things Considered

Laurie Johnson is the Houston host for All Things Considered at KUHF NPR for Houston. Before taking the anchor chair, she worked as a general assignments reporter at KUHF, starting there as an intern in 2002...