Sharing a Meal for Charity

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Leigh Donaldson Carman — Photo by Sara Hall
Leigh Donaldson Carman — Photo by Sara Hall

Local resident Leigh Donaldson Carman has figured out a way to help solve three major problems in the country with one simple fix.

The problems: Obesity, food waste and feeding the hungry.

The solution: Half 4 the Hungry.

H4H is a brand new charity Carman started about eight months ago that aims to partner with restaurants that will allow the customer to order an item, pay full price, but receive a half portion of food, and in turn, the restaurant donates a minimum of $4 to a predetermined charity that feeds hungry children in America.

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“Save calories while saving lives,” she said.

“We are wasting so much food, people are gaining weight, and portions are so big,” Carman said. “This is an easy fix for three big problems…It just feels right.”

Recently, she submitted her idea to the Start Something That Matters contest challenge through the website, good.is. The site is a “global community of people and organizations working towards individual and collective progress.”

GOOD partnered with Blake Mycoskie, founder of TOMS and the Start Something That Matters Foundation, for the contest.

Participants were asked to submit their social enterprise plans of innovative solutions to the world’s problems. Ideas on how they would create a positive, global impact. The winner receives $50,000 in support of their idea.

Carman was one of 30 finalists chosen. Members of the public can vote online until June 14.

That $50,000 could make a big difference for the new charity, which Carman is working on making an official 501c(3).

The funds would “kick off the social media advertising and website, as well as enable us to produce materials, such as table tents that we can place in the restaurants and press kits. The tents will help inform people of the opportunity and bridge the knowledge gap between participating and engaging by knowing exactly where the money is going,” she explains on the H4H page on the GOOD website.

“Our business recognizes these trends of obesity, waste and hunger and presents an easy way for people to participate without too much effort,” the Half 4 the Hungry site for the GODD challenge reads. “Our organization will vet the charities to which we donate to ensure that all donations are well spent. The impact is hungry children are fed, people can lose weight and less food is wasted.”

It all started when she went out to dinner some time ago. She only ate half of her meal and wished there was some way to give the rest to the hungry. When she got back home she looked into the issue.

Her research found that average restaurant portions are more than double the recommended serving size, 40 percent of the nation’s food supply goes to waste every year, 35 percent of Americans are obese, and 17 million children are hungry in America.

The Half 4 the Hungry idea can also be a springboard for other campaigns, she said. Other campaigns could include: Cheers 4 Heroes, which would allow patrons to buy drinks for a hero and 100 percent of the drink price goes as a donation to veterans; Half 4 Heroes, where donations would go to wounded warriors, police, fire, vets; or Half 4 the Homeless, and donations go to help the domestic homeless.

In a year from now, she would love to see Half 4 the Hungry have many significant restaurants nationwide on board with the idea. She would also like to partner with a business like Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig, she said, as part of their dine out program.

“Over the long term, patrons will appreciate reducing their calorie intake while feeling good about helping hungry children. The “diet” stigma will be gone because of the altruistic component,” the H4H page reads.

It’s very exciting, Carman said.

The feedback has been very positive, she said, and she has received a lot of support for the idea..

The challenge has brought people out of the woodwork that want to help, she said. The incredible support has convinced her to continue the idea, even if she doesn’t win the contest, she added.

She encourages people interested in helping out to vote for Half 4 the Hungry on the GOOD website, visiting the H4H website and contacting her to get involved or give feedback.

For more information or to vote for Half 4 the Hungry, visit startsomethingthatmatters.maker.good.is or half4thehungry.org.

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