Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Community Partnerships

I LOVE Chipotle. A Mexican-style restaurant that's fast-food only better, Chipotle has been at the top of my "favorites list" for quite some time. First, because I like their food, its pretty healthy, and its cheap. Second, because they make "Food with Integrity." That is, they use fair-trade ingredients, meats from animals that were never given antibiotics or by-products... you get the point.

This week, I have been given another reason to love Chipotle- a reason that is enough for me to tell you that you should eat there and support their company. In an effort to cut rising costs for Dignity Diner at Holy Covenant UMC, we have been looking for community partners to provide the meal for our 40-60 "homeless and hungry" guests who come to our sanctuary to eat every Tuesday evening. I may have mentioned this last week? Einstein's has partnered with us, offering to donate all of their leftover bagels (over 100!) a every week. When I approached the manager at the Chipotle up the street from HC, he instantly agreed it was a great cause and asked if they could start by providing the meal for all of our guests the following Tuesday. So 4 days, later- they did! We are talking about ways this can become a great partnership between our program and their company, and looking at the possibility of them donating a meal once a month- or more!

Its amazing how easy it was for me to walk in there and get enough food for 60 people... in about five minutes. While every day, people are hungry on the streets and unable to find food. There are many reasons (I won't get into that) that restaurants are not willing to hand out food to anyone who walks in and asks for it... but when an organization or meal program such as ours asks for food and its that easy, it makes me wish I could drop everything else I'm doing and coordinate ways to offer such a meal program every night. I have no problem asking folks for stuff if its for a good cause... I wish that were true for more people so that programs like Dignity Diner- who has been open since 1992 and has never established such a program with a restaurant -could discover that we must just ask, and we shall receive.

Chipotle is doing great things... Einstein's is doing great things... I hope that this is only the beginning of discoveries of ways our community can partner together and make it a better place for those who live in and around it.

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