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May 1, 2013

Innovative Strategies "Spring" Up to Support Our Work

Spring is here, and while that means more beautiful weather and blooms around the Washington area, it also means fewer donations for our area’s hungry. While the need is year-round, unfortunately the donations are not. Unlike the cherry blossoms, charitable donations bloom best in December. That’s why we rely on innovative fundraising campaigns and partnerships with generous foundations and corporate neighbors more than ever during the spring months.

One of our campaigns this spring was the 17th Annual Dining Out for Life® on Thursday, April 25th. Dining Out for Life® asks people to simply go out to lunch and/or dinner at more than 100 local restaurants which have committed to donate 25-110% of their proceeds to Food & Friends. With just a meal out, people across the D.C. region help us ensure that thousands of children and adults facing HIV/AIDS, cancer and other life-challenging illnesses receive the daily nutritious meals so vital to their care.

We are also working with many generous corporate partners around the region. Partners like Walmart, whose foundation recently awarded Food & Friends a $50,000 grant from their State Giving Program. Walmart is joining us again in May when we host our 23rd Annual Chef’s Best Dinner & Auction presented by the NACDS Foundation to celebrate Food & Friends’ 25th anniversary. The event will bring together many of our partners to help home-deliver more than one million nutritious meals to our critically ill neighbors.

We depend on the support of partners like Walmart to keep our programs vibrant throughout the year. The partnership between Walmart and Food & Friends stretches back to 2004, and we are looking forward to continuing it for years to come.

This partnership is a good example of an often overlooked effect of business on the community as a whole. Corporate giving is a major part of the donations that many local non-profits, including Food & Friends, need to serve the community year-round. When you consider the effect of major companies coming to our region, I would ask that we all consider the positive impact that these businesses have on local nonprofits. We thrive on the generous donations and fruitful partnerships that these businesses are able to provide.

At a time of the year when donations from our wonderful individual donors is less robust than the cherry blossoms, creative programs and partnerships with corporate neighbors enables Food & Friends to keep providing meals to those in need. These are the kinds of partnerships that our community needs.

Craig Shniderman has led Food & Friends as the Executive Director since April 1995. He is a native of the Washington area and has lived and worked in Greater Washington for almost his entire career.

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