Get Out and Give Back: The Neighborhood Dish

by WL Author

For hundreds of nonprofits in greater Washington, a little donation goes a long, long way.
By Jane Hess Collins

Melissa Horst of the Eat Good Food group is one of many chefs who participate in the Carpenter's Shelter annual Carpenter's Cook-off. Photo courtesy of Danielle Swanson.

We asked a handful of the area’s earnest, hard-working and small nonprofits what local restaurants and catering companies they can count on over and over again:

Arlington Street People’s Assistance Network (A-SPAN)

Chef David Guas of Arlington’s Bayou Bakery has donated leftover pastries and desserts to them twice weekly for the past several months, and catered breakfast for 150 A-SPAN volunteers and staff during their October 100 Homes Arlington Campaign. Guas and his family also volunteer at the emergency winter shelter.

Chef Andrew Limberg and Sous Chef JC Gibbs from the Lyon Hall Brasserie in Arlington catered dinner for up to 70 people at the Arlington County Emergency Winter Shelter last season by bringing full meals and dessert periodically throughout the season.

Carpenter’s Shelter

Twenty leading local restaurants compete each year for Carpenter’s Cook-Off, Alexandria’s largest culinary competition and the nonprofit’s biggest fundraiser for the mission to end homelessness through education, services and advocacy. The 2011 winner, The Majestic (also part of Cathal Armstrong’s Eat Good Food group), engages in the shelter’s mission year round.

Generation Hope

The Bean Bag Deli & Catering Company in Rockville has provided in-kind donations, discounts, decorations and cookies to Generation Hope, a nonprofit that provides direct sponsorship and support to teen parents who are attending college. Chef Mitchell Wool hosted an open house for them in November.

Jubilee Jobs

Chef Steve Dunn of Well Dunn Catering has catered the Jubilee Jobs’ fundraising dinner years, and made numerous in-kind donations.

Miriam’s Kitchen

Chefs, specifically from Co Co. Sala, the embassies of Qatar, Ireland, Turkey, Finland and Switzerland have cooked and served meals for Miriam’s Kitchen guests. Additionally, Chef Geoff hosted a golf tournament and collected more than 1,500 pairs of socks and underwear for Miriam’s Kitchen clients. Ridgewells Catering donated over $25,000 of in-kind support for their annual gala, 100 Bowls of Compassion.

The Reading Connection, Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority and Partnership for a Healthier Alexandria

The three nonprofits The Reading Connection, Alexandria Redevolpment and Housing Authority and Partnership for a Healthier Alexandria have partnered together to introduce kids to nutrition through visits from Chef Will Artley from the Evening Star Cafe in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, as well as teaching the kids to grow and tend a community garden, and offering a reading program focused on nutrition.

Honorable mentions

The Hudson Restaurant and Lounge and the Lincoln Restaurant are both huge supporters of the nonprofits and fundraisers Fashion for Paws, Lucky Dog Animal Rescue, Green Cup of Polo, and the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer campaign.

Geppetto Catering supports a slew of nonprofits, including A Wider Circle, Companies for Causes, DC Central Kitchen, Hands-On Greater DC Cares, Levine School of Music, Muscular Dystrophy Association of greater Washington, the Nonprofit Roundtable and The Phillips Collection.

Jane Hess Collins helps and encourages people to give back through her volunteering, writing, speaking, coaching and workshops. You can follow her other Get Out and Give Back volunteer stories on Facebook, Twitter and her website. If you’d like her to volunteer with your organization, contact her here.

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