A host of food-loving celebrities are supporting the DineAid campaign this festive season.
The charitable campaign runs from today (1 November) until New Year’s Eve and involves customers at selected restaurants and cafés donating their spare change to help the hungry and homeless.
Supporting the initiative in 2013 are New Zealand foodies and TV presenters Annabelle White and Nici Wickes together with media personality Jesse Mulligan.
They are encouraging Kiwis throughout the country to book at participating DineAid eateries and add just $2 to their final bill with all the funds going directly to the country’s City Missions.
“It is such a brilliant and simple idea,” Annabelle says. “Not only do diners treat their taste buds, they also have the opportunity to show their hearts are in the right place.”
Nici agrees, saying it’s tough to argue with just an extra couple of dollars added to a restaurant bill.
“I am eternally grateful that my job enables me to dine out so frequently. However, I am also acutely aware that for many in our communities it's a financial struggle being able to get a decent meal on the table,” Nici says.
“A small amount added to the bill at the end of an evening can make a big difference to someone else and that's the beauty of DineAid – a little goes a long way.”
Since it launched in New Zealand five years ago, DineAid has raised almost $400,000. Every single cent goes to City Mission Food Banks in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, which distribute goods to 140 locations throughout the country.
City Mission spokesperson Diane Robertson says as a result of the programme thousands of New Zealanders will not go hungry this Christmas.
“We can’t encourage people enough to book at participating eateries during this campaign. We’ve had record numbers of people turning to us in times of need and these funds help stock our food banks not just at our busiest time – Christmas – but for the entire year,” Robertson says.
DineAid founder and world-renowned chef Mark Gregory is continually amazed at the amount raised by the simple contributions made by diners and is equally proud that not a cent is gobbled up in administrative costs.
“One the greatest things about this campaign is knowing every cent people give goes directly to helping feed those less fortunate. People who use city mission services have nowhere else to turn and are in desperate need of help,” Mark says.
“We are hugely grateful for all the restaurants and cafés that have signed up to DineAid, and to generous New Zealanders who go out of their way to dine at these places.”
November through to January is one of the restaurant industry’s busiest times, with Christmas parties and New Year’s Eve celebrations.
With more than 150 restaurants and 200 cafés involved in this year’s campaign, all palates and budgets are catered for.
Diners have the option of adding $2 to their bill at the end of a meal or can drop $2 into collection boxes in any of 200 participating cafés.
Patrons can simply search online at www.dineaid.org.nz to find their nearest participating eateries.