Have you been eating and drinking well this summer?  With the delicious produce at local farmers’ markets, exciting new offerings from favorite local chefs and DC’s frozen yogurt boom, it’s been hard not to.  What better time to think about ways to help organizations that fight hunger?

If Lifetime’s camera crew isn’t following you and your Mafia around this month, there’s a good chance you could be doing more in the way of charity.  Fortunately, it’s even easier to help than usual.

As we head into the harvest season, there are several opportunities to support local and national charities dedicated to combating hunger that require little effort beyond skipping a meal or choosing a participating restaurant.  You know you’re going to eat out anyway – why not pass some of your dining dollars on to a worthy cause?

Details on the Capital Area Food Bank’s “Skip Lunch, Feed a Bunch,” Share Our Strength’s “Great American Dine Out,” and the DC Central Kitchen’s “Eating Well/Doing Good” program after the jump.

  • This Wednesday, September 17th, the Capital Area Food Bank is asking Washingtonians to donate the amount they would normally spend on that day’s lunch.  “Skip Lunch, Feed a Bunch” is a creative way to drive home the idea that every dollar you contribute to the CAFB allows them to distribute three meals to the hungry.  By contributing $5 instead of grabbing a footlong at Subway, you’ll help them to provide 15 meals.  Your $10 chef-designed salad at Chop’t becomes 30 meals in the hands of the CAFB.  Skipping a $25 steak lunch?  You’re giving the equivalent of 75 meals!  Make your contributions here, then go ahead and take your lunch break anyway – we won’t tell.
  • From Sunday, September 21st, through Sunday, September 28th, Share Our Strength is teaming up with American Express and restaurants across the country for the Great American Dine Out.  Throughout Washington (and across the country), participating restaurants will be donating up to 5% of their receipts to Share Our Strength’s efforts to combat childhood hunger.  According to the site, the majority of funds will be used in the communities where they are raised.  Although the official website only lists 35 participating establishments in the DC area, there are quite a few more that can be found at the OpenTable page for the event – one more reason to join OpenTable if you haven’t already.
  • Throughout September, DC Central Kitchen’s “Eating Well- Doing Good” partners of the month are J. Paul’s and Old Glory in Georgetown.  Through this program, partner restaurants donate 10% of the proceeds from the sale of specific menu items throughout the month.  Your craving for Old Glory’s Cedar Smoked Atlantic Salmon or J. Paul’s Sea Scallop Volcano (both of which are $22 entrees) translates to a $2.20 contribution to the DC Central Kitchen if you stop in between now and the end of the month.  Pulled Pork Sliders ($10) and Key Lime Pie ($8) at Old Glory also trigger contributions, as do House Made Truffle Potato Chips ($10) and the Classic Eclair ($8) at J. Paul’s.  And keep an eye on the DCCK website to find out which restaurant(s) will be participating in future months.