Food Bank fundraiser to raise awareness, increase business

Published 7:12 pm Friday, September 15, 2017

Helping the hungry can be easy task on Tuesday — just go out to eat.

Sponsored by First South Bank in Washington, the Food Bank of the Albemarle is gearing up for its second “Dine Out to Help Out” event. The food bank has enlisted many Beaufort County restaurants to help spread awareness about the Food Bank of the Albemarle and food insecurity in Beaufort County. All day Tuesday, participating restaurants will donate 10 percent of their proceeds to the Food Bank of the Albemarle — and all of the money will go back into local agencies and food banks, such as Eagle’s Wings.

First South Bank’s Chief Banking Officer Randy Woodson, and organizer of the event, has been a board member of the food bank for years, and considering the nearly 20 percent of residents who are food insecure in Beaufort County, he said this event will provide much-needed assistance.

“A lot of people have a lot of need here in Beaufort County,” Woodson said.

The food bank serves 15 counties in northeastern North Carolina, and Beaufort County continues to be the No. 1 recipient of resources — averaging about 1 million pounds of food, according to Woodson.

Woodson said the event spreads awareness about the food bank, boosts business for restaurants and promotes fellowship for residents on a Tuesday.

“It’s almost like a win-win-win. Everybody contributes, and at the end of the day, everybody benefits,” Woodson said.

With eight returning restaurants from last year and four additional ones, Woodson said he’s excited and grateful for the involvement from the community. He said most restaurants were very willing to participate in the fundraiser, especially after he explained to owners the obvious need in Beaufort County. The biggest issue last year, according to Woodson, was that the event was a new concept for the community.

“We started a little late, and no one had ever done it before or knew how it had to go. We were asking merchants to participate in something that was kind of unknown,” Woodson said. “Last year, I think we made about $3,500. Now we want $5,000, which would be equivalent to 20,000 meals. It’s a huge multiplier effect.”

While the event generates funds for the food bank, Woodson said it also promotes education. There will be flyers and pamphlets available for customers at each restaurant outlining the work of the organization.

“I’m really optimistic that the more people that participate, the more people that go out, that’s more awareness of who the Food Bank of the Albemarle is. Our big goal is to help people in need. But for me, (on Tuesday), it’s awareness,” Woodson said.

Participating restaurants include Backwater Jack’s Tiki Bar & Grill, Bill’s Hot Dogs, Carryout by Chrislyn, China Bay Buffet, Down on Main, East Coast Wings, Pam’s Diner, Pizza Inn of Washington, Washington Crab & Seafood Co., The Meeting Place Café & Catering, Grub Brothers Eatery and La Bella’s Pizzeria.

Eat at any of these places all day long on Tuesday, and proceeds will help the hungry.

“I tell people if you play your cards right it could be an 8,000 calorie day,” Woodson laughed.