Courtesy Rita Kahn
Oak Park River Forest Food Pantry today announced it has been selected to receive a $3,000 grant as part of the Restaurant Community Grants program from the Darden Foundation, the charitable arm of Darden Restaurants Inc. The grants program, now in its second year, empowers each restaurant in the Darden family of brands to help award a $1,000 grant to support local community programs. The donation will further enable Oak Park River Forest Food Pantry to provide hunger relief in the form of nutrient-dense food and nutrition education to the 16,000 families who benefit from their services.
Darden's Red Lobster, Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Bahama Breeze, Seasons 52, The Capital Grille and Eddie V's brands participated in the program. Many restaurants and brands worked together to award one nonprofit organization with a larger grant and make a greater impact in their community. The restaurants will award more than $1.9 million to more than 850 exceptional nonprofit organizations in the U.S. and Canada. Nonprofits receiving grants support one of Darden's three key focus areas: access to postsecondary education, preservation of natural resources and hunger.
Michele Zurakowski, Executive Director of Oak Park River Forest Food Pantry, stated "We are honored that three local restaurants – The Capital Grille of Rosement, Olive Garden of North Riverside, and LongHorn Steakhouse of Norridge – have chosen to recognize the work that we do to provide hunger relief, nutrition education and connections to ongoing supports to community members in need. We are impressed with the Darden Foundation's ongoing investment in the health and success of the communities in which they do business."
"Our employees are incredibly passionate about the communities where they live, and our restaurant teams are in a position to understand and help address the needs of their communities," said Drew Madsen, Darden Restaurants' president and chief operating officer. "We're all proud to build on that passion through the grants program and bring real, local citizenship to life by enabling each restaurant to make a difference in their backyard."