Raleigh Convention Center Fights Hunger Through “Share Your Meal” Initiative
The Raleigh Convention Center and its catering partner, Centerplate, kicked off the new year on a compassionate note by launching a new community meal donation program to benefit local nonprofits in The Triangle region (Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill and Cary, N.C.) and surrounding areas. Dubbed Share Your Meal, the initiative allows event organizers to help people in need by ordering additional meals at their meetings or conferences that are then donated to the Food Bank of Eastern & Central North Carolina and the agencies it supports.
Through this initiative, organizations hosting events at RCC simply order extra meals that then become in-kind donations from the host. No service charge is applied to the meals, and the facility will match all contributions by providing a one-to-one additional meal. As the conference meals are prepared and served, those being donated are packed and delivered to the food bank.
As the focus on sustainability and philanthropic engagement grow globally, Share Your Meal is not only thoughtful but a tangible and immediate way to contribute to a community’s well-being, said Kerry Painter, director and general manager of the Raleigh Convention Center.
“Creating community often begins with the sharing of a meal, so we’re excited about serving food to those in need around us, setting the stage for stronger, thriving neighborhoods,” Painter said. “We truly believe in supporting our surrounding community and this is a tangible way to make a long-term impact. Plus, with our 100-percent matching program, we hope this act of paying it forward inspires organizations, attendees and our staff to carry on the spirit of contributing to their home communities.”
Although RCC has maintained a practice of donating leftover meals after events to various shelters and non-profits in the area whenever possible, this new initiative ramps up that philanthropic reach.
“We’re very thankful for partnerships like this with Raleigh Convention Center [that] allow generous businesses to support our neighbors facing hunger in a way that is straightforward, and so helpful for us,” said Carter Crain, director of food partnerships at the food bank. “The nutritious food that will come from this support will help a lot of people in need.”
To broaden the reach of Share Your Meal, Centerplate and RCC are sourcing ingredients from area farms and suppliers to help the local economy and support small businesses.
To get the word out and encourage planners to get on board, news of the donation program will be shared with prospective clients and by including an empty seat at every table during meal functions with signage about the donated meals.
“This will help reinforce attendees’ emotional connection to the organization and with the Raleigh Convention Center,” said Painter. “Our guests will enjoy their food two-fold knowing that the same nutritious, gourmet meal is going to someone in need.”