PLATTSBURGH - The United Way of the Adirondack Region is reaching out to the restaurant community, and they're hoping they'll step up to the plate.
The nonprofit organization is in the process of planning "Dine Out for United Way," a first-time event to benefit the more than 35 organizations United Way provides funding for in Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties.
Kirk A. Stallsmith, chairman of the local United Way's 2010-11 fundraising campaign, is co-chairing the event with Ground Round manager Bob Kidwell, also a member of the fundraising campaign team. The idea behind the event was to broaden the participation in giving to the United Way and increasing community involvement.
"The thought was to develop an event that can reach across all three counties and involve a segment of the market that could get excited about participating in the annual United Way campaign efforts," said Stallsmith.
Dine Out for United Way - which will be held across the tri-county region Thursday, Jan. 13, 2011 - encourages people to go out to eat at participating businesses during designated times that day, with as much as 10 percent of the total gross sales at each restaurant to go to the United Way.
"Participating restaurants will sign up to donate a percentage of their proceeds from the evening and where it is possible we would like to offer an opportunity for waitstaff to do likewise," explained Stallsmith. "It is a time of year after Christmas and New Year's where business may be a bit slower. We hope the restaurant community gets excited about the event."
Kidwell said he has a good feeling many others will as well.
"Working in the restaurant business is a busy job and it's always a struggle to run the business and find time to give back to the community," he said. "This is a perfect way to do that."
The day of Dine Out for United Way will also be a chance for restaurant patrons to benefit themselves. Those who dine at participating restaurants and say they are "Dining Out for United Way" can enter into a drawing for raffle prizes donated to the United Way, including signed Buffalo Bills and New York Jets jerseys, gift certificates, and gift baskets from Adirondack Specialty Food. After the event, tickets will be collected from the participating restaurants and winners will be drawn.
John C. Bernardi, executive director of the United Way of the Adirondack Region, said he looks forward to the event and hopes restaurants and their patrons alike will respond like he believes they will.
"This is a great opportunity to engage our friends and neighbors across the region to support our very important mission," he said,
Dine Out for United Way is currently in the planning stages, with letters seeking interest from hundreds of businesses across the region being mailed out the beginning of next week.
Those interested in more information may contact the local United Way at 563-0028.