The Voluntary Action Center (VAC), a local non-profit dedicated to providing emergency assistance for the basic needs of individuals living in Gordon County, announced it has been selected to receive a $1,000 grant as part of the inaugural Restaurant Community Grant Program from the Darden Foundation, the charitable arm of Darden Restaurants Inc.
The Restaurant Community Grant Program is a local grants program intended to help support nonprofit organizations in the hundreds of communities Darden and its restaurant brands serve.
The donation will enablethe VAC’s project to enhance the Community Kitchen Outreach by ensuring the ability to purchase food and supplies.
The Community Kitchen provides hot meals three days per week as is available to anyone in need of a hot meal.
Restaurants within the Darden family – Red Lobster, Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, The Capital Grille, Bahama Breeze and Seasons 52 – are helping to award more than $1.7 million in local grants to nearly 900 exceptional nonprofit organizations nationwide.
Nonprofits receiving grants support one of Darden’s three key focus areas: access to postsecondary education, preservation of natural resources and hunger.
“Darden and the local Longhorn have been very supportive of the Community Kitchen Program here in Gordon County. It is the support of local and corporate partners and caring individuals that has helped make the Community Kitchen a reality,” Stacy Long, Executive Director for the VAC.
“Each grant is not just a check – it is an opportunity to make an impact, from providing essential supplies to food banks and Community Kitchens in Georgia, to mentoring students in Phoenix and supporting environmental education in New England,” said Drew Madsen, president and chief operating officer of Darden Restaurants, Inc. “Our service philosophy extends far beyond the walls of our restaurants. These grants bring that philosophy to life by helping to develop a better future for those we serve, one community at a time.”
In addition to providing grant funds representatives from the local Longhorn have sponsored the May 16 meal in the Community Kitchen.
The meal provided nourishment to over 90 individuals. Jeff Mathis, Longhorn manager, and members of his staff not only prepared the food but served the food as well.
The human contact aspect of the Community Kitchen is as vital as the nourishment. This allows members of the community to positively impact the lives of those in need. It also allows for social interaction with people who are in similar situations. Jeff Mathis, also serves as the Chairperson for the VAC Board of Directors.
Since 1995, the Darden Foundation has awarded more than $60 million in grants. Total giving in fiscal year 2012 amounted to $7.8 million, 20 percent of which is represented by the Restaurant Community Grants Program.
For more information about the Darden Foundation, please visit http://www.darden.com/ commitment/community.asp. For additional information on the VAC please visit www.voluntaryactioncenter.org.