Restaurants sign on for food bank’s ‘Dine Out’ fundraiser

Published 5:12 pm Thursday, September 8, 2016

Go out to dinner Tuesday night, and the result will be a much-needed boost to local agencies that feed the hungry.

Sponsored by First South Bank, “Dine Out to Help Out” has enlisted the help of Beaufort County restaurants to help raise money for Food Bank of the Albemarle and its local partners. The restaurants will donate 10 percent of their Tuesday night proceeds to the effort; 18 Beaufort County partnership agencies will benefit.

First South Bank Chief Banking Officer Randy Woodson, the orchestrator of “Dine Out to Help Out,” has been involved with food banks for many years, and considering that 24.4 percent of Beaufort County children are food insecure — unable to consistently access food or have gone hungry because they have to skip meals — believes it’s a great way to serve the community.

“I wanted to get this off the ground because I think it’s a great opportunity (for people) to find out what the Food Bank does in the county,” Woodson said. “Beaufort County is its No. 1 recipient.”

Of the 15-county region served by Food Bank of the Albemarle, Beaufort County has the highest number of food-insecure people, and the food bank’s partner agencies in the county receive more than 1 million pounds of food each year.

“The food bank is kind of like a wholesale entity, a supplier,” Woodson said. “They’re huge in making what these agencies do possible.”

While the goal is fill the coffers of the Food Bank, and the cupboards of partner agencies like Eagle’s Wings and Zion Shelter and Kitchen, the event also serves as an opportunity for First South to support local business, Woodson said.

“Tuesday night is not a busy night for restaurants. My goal is to drive more business into those restaurants than they would have otherwise — to take a slow night and make it a busier night,” Woodson said. “It’s just a pretty cool way that I think everybody benefits.”

Participating restaurants in Beaufort County are Backwater Jack’s, Bill’s Hot Dogs, China Garden Buffet, Down on Main Street, East Coast Wings, Farm Boys in Belhaven, Pam’s Diner, Pizza Inn and Washington Crab and Seafood Shack.

Laura Scoble, owner of the popular Washington restaurant Backwater Jack’s, said she and co-owner Cathy Bell were more than happy to participate in “Dine Out to Help Out,” primarily because 100 percent of the money donated by the restaurant will stay within the county.
“It goes directly to the agencies that feed the hungry, and if there’s a specific one, we can dictate which agency we want it to go to,” Scoble said.

She said it was their way of not only supporting those in need, but also their long-standing business relationship with First South Bank.

“It’s definitely a way to get some additional funds,” Scoble said. “I can’t imagine trying to raise money all year long. People are always hungry — there’s never a season when they’re not.”

Tuesday night’s “Dine Out to Help Out” is the first of its kind in Beaufort County, the plan is to make it an annual event.

“(We hope) to make it an even bigger event next year, with more participation from restaurants and people going out, and hopefully make it a community event where people can go out and support those in need in the county,” Woodson said. “There’s a lot of it — a lot of need.”