Thursday, January 26, 2012

Going Halfsies – A New And Improved Model

With a 56-pound English Bulldog as my companion, I can't really say that I live alone or in solitude.  As my youngest sister said recently, Mugsy is the perfect dog for a man because he makes all of the typical noises.

I assume she was referring to my brother-in-law, not me but she's right, this breed of Bulldog isn't stealth.  If they aren’t snoring, they are typically snorting, licking, slurping, purring, etc.

But I do eat out a lot, both because I don't really cook and because I enjoy good food and because it's simply my favorite way to socialize.  I learned recently from an article by Nona Willis Aronowitz, an Associate Editor for GOOD that “almost half the food produced in the United States today is thrown away-including $44 billion worth in the retail industry.”

This means that even though 50 million people in this country experience food insecurity or malnutrition, half of all the food produced in this country either becomes part of the 250,000,000 tons of garbage generated in this country each year or the 2%-3% composted annually in backyards.

GOOD has made me aware of a remarkable solution that I hope will be embraced by the many restaurants where I eat in Durham, North Carolina – rightfully ranked one of America's foodiest cities.

Go Halfsies with the slogan “eat less – give more” is a movement that encourages restaurants to give their restaurant-goers, such as me or you, a year around way to simultaneously eat a healthier meal portion, reduce food waste and support the fight against hunger.

Participating restaurants give patrons the option of ordering a meal and while paying the full price receive a half portion.  The restaurant then donates the other half of the price of that meal on behalf of the patron to the Halfsies organization where it is used to fight hunger.

Even better, 60% of the donated funds are redistributed to local nonprofits in the community where the participating restaurant customers and employees work and live, while 30% of the donated funds are used to address issues of poverty and hunger globally and the remaining 10% is used to cover the administrative and operating costs.

To me this seems like a major evolution of and improvement on the “restaurant week” model that often occurs at this time of year in many parts of the country, typically promoted by a private concern and where participating restaurants offer a prefix meal. 

Halfsies is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Austin, Texas.  To learn more how this works and to encourage the participation of restaurants you might frequent to participate click on this link to open and print a short flyer.

This model for eating smaller portions while making it easier to give more to help those in need is as innovative as it is worthy and deserves our immediate time and attention to broaden awareness and generate participation.

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