Birmingham Chefs Join Effort to 'Feed the Need' in Detroit, Pontiac
Several Birmingham restaurants and chefs will be giving back Wedesday as they participate in the 52-week Detroit Area Chefs Feed the Need Program.
Every Wednesday for 52 weeks, a different Metro Detroit restaurant or catering company will serve up lunch on a rotation schedule at five soup kitchesn in Detroit and Pontiac. Through the course of the program, more than 12,000 meals will be served.
Five area organizations will benefit from the rotating Feed the Need program in Michigan: the Cass Community Center and Conner and Meldrum Capuchin Soup Kitchens in Detroit; and the Baldwin Center and Grace Centers of Hope in Pontiac.
"When we called upon the Metro Detroit hospitality committee to join us in a volunteer effort to support the work or area soup kitchens by cooking and serving a soup kitchen luncheon meal, the response was overwhelming," said Mindy VanHallemont, a member of the Detroit Area Feed the Need committee and owner of Birmingham's Tallulah Wine Bar and Bistro and Bella Piatti, both of which will be participating in the program.
The program is inspired by the Charleston Area Chefs Feed the Need program in South Carolina that began in 2009 and was the recipient of the 2011 National Restaurant Association's Restaurant Neighbor Award.
"Having a long-time history with the Detroit area made this an easy call to make about two months ago," said Mickey Bakst, founder of the Charleston Area Chefs Feed the Need and general manager of the Charleston Grill. "I knew the Detroit hospitality community was generous in supporting outreach endeavors, and I believed it was the right city to launch the next Feed the Need program.
"Efforts in Detroit will be used to as the model to launch Feed the Need nationwide," he said. "I am confident that other cities across the nation will embrace the program and make a difference in these tough economic times."
According to the study Feeding America's National Hunger, the number of individual emergency food recipients who receive food each week in southeast Michigan grew by 78 percent in 2011.
Participating restaurants also in Birmingham include: