Many nonprofits hold food or toy drives during the holiday season, but Food Outreach is doing something a little different this year. With the help of Cassy Vires and Josh Renbarger of Home Wine Kitchen, Food Outreach is hosting six lunches from critically acclaimed chefs for its clients during the month of December. But they need St. Louis' help, too.
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"Josh and I, at Home Wine Kitchen, have done a gift drive for a different charity every year, and this year we really wanted to do something hands-on," Vires tells us. "I think it's a really depressing time in St. Louis, and we wanted to actually be a part of something and physically get involved."
Home Wine Kitchen has worked with Food Outreach -- a nonprofit that provides nutritional support to men, women and children living with HIV/AIDS in the St. Louis area -- in the past, so Vires called up marketing and events manager Jessica Healey. After "about five cups of coffee and two hours," they came up with the Sponsor a Seat program.
When you dine at Home Wine Kitchen, both Mission Taco locations, Milagro Modern Mexican, Juniper or Cleveland-Heath in December, you have the option to add a $15 donation which will pay for a seat at one of Food Outreach's lunches. Chefs from each of the participating restaurants will be preparing hearty, three-course meals each week for the Food Outreach clients.
"It would be nice to do this ongoing, whether trying it with other restaurants," Healey says. "There's so many chefs that want to give back, they just don't have the time or the brain space to say, 'This is what I want to do and how I want to do it.'"
Vires saw that desire among her colleagues as well, so that's why she decided to plan something that multiple restaurants could get involved with.
"The restaurant owners that are participating -- all of us feel it's really important. It's not just, 'Come to Home Wine Kitchen and donate,'" Vires says. "All of these restaurants are doing something together. I've got other restaurants offering to come serve, saying they can't do a lunch but they'll come help. The restaurants are really coming together."