• NRA's Dine for America event to help hurricane victims

    Tags: NAPICS

WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Oct. 5, restaurants from across the country will band together for Dine for America day, a national fundraising effort to support the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund and help those affected by Hurricane Katrina and their families.

According to the National Restaurant Association, operators are encouraged to donate all or part of their sales that day to a fund administered by the Red Cross. (Visit restaurant.org for details. An additional Web site, dineforamerica.org, will launch Sept. 8.) At the Web site, turnkey marketing and promotional materials, including posters, tray liners, table tents, and artwork for customer donation canisters will be available for participating restaurants.

"I don't need to tell you that America's hospitality industry is full of people with good hearts," said Stephen C. Anderson, president and chief executive officer of the NRA. "Our hearts go out to our restaurant friends and family in the Gulf Coast — to everyone affected by the hurricane — and we are pleased to be able to galvanize the nation's restaurateurs and foodservice industry in this important effort."

In 2001, Dine for America mobilized more than 8,000 restaurants and raised more than $20 million for victims of terrorist attacks on New York and Washington. The NRA hopes to gather even more for Katrina's victims.

"This is an opportunity for the industry to come together for a common cause and help our neighbors in the South in a time of desperate need," said Steve Stoddard, CEO of Restaurants Unlimited Inc. "While short-term relief efforts are ongoing ... the rebuilding of the Gulf Coast region will take a long time. Not only do these Americans need help today, but they will need help throughout the fall."

For operators eager to support victims immediately, the NRA provided the following suggestions:

* Implement a percentage-of-sale promotion to support Red Cross relief efforts and position your restaurant as a leader in answering the call for help.

* Start an employee giving campaign. Illustrate to your employees that you care about the communities in which they live. The American Red Cross can work with you to provide a convenient way to encourage employees to join you in supporting its efforts by donating through our secure online donation site.

* Include a Red Cross Bill Insert in mailings to reach out to your customers while gaining goodwill for your company by linking your business to the business of saving lives.

* Place a banner ad on your restaurant's Web site and allow customers to donate through the Red Cross's secure online donation site.

* Consider making a personal financial donation by calling 800-435-7669, or by visiting redcross.org/donate/donate.html.

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