COLUMBIA — Several restaurants in Columbia, Rocheport and Jefferson City will introduce special menus for the Mid-Missouri Restaurant Week from Jan. 13 to 22.
For 10 days, participating restaurants will have special $10 to $15 lunch menus and $20 to $30 dinner menus, along with their regular menus. Ten percent of the revenue will go to the Buddy Pack program of the Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri.
Norm Benedict, a member of the action committee for the event, said there are two purposes behind this inaugural event. The primary purpose is to help the program at the Food Bank, and the secondary goal is to drive business in January, a slow period for restaurants, he said.
Benedict said although the event takes place a distance from many of the 32 counties that the Food Bank covers, the event tries to keep people in those counties informed about what is being done on their behalf. Restaurants in other towns in mid-Missouri might also participate in this event later, he said.
Benedict said he hopes it will grow larger in subsequent years.
Kansas City has carried out the restaurant week twice and now plans to launch a third event soon. The restaurant weeks in Kansas City have been successful, Benedict said. More than $55,000 was raised in the second event held earlier this year.
Benedict said the decision of donating 10 percent of the revenue to the Buddy Pack program was made by the board of directors at the Missouri Restaurant Association. He said the board members were shocked when they found out one in six U.S. families live in poverty and do not get enough nutrition to maintain their health.
“The Buddy Pack program has been successful to date, so it was something that mid-Missouri's restaurant owners wanted to put their expectations behind,” Benedict said.
Started in 2005, Buddy Pack helps 8,600 children every week in 32 counties in the 2011-12 academic year, said Peggy Kirkpatrick, executive director of the Food Bank. It has continuously grown since 2005, when 300 children were helped every week.
The participating restaurants and their menus can be found on the Mid-Missouri Restaurant Week website, www.midmissourirestaurantweek.com.