A fundraising campaign sponsored by the National Restaurant Association, in partnership with the Texas Restaurant Association, was announced last month in support of the U.S. military members. Titled “Freedom is Sweet,” the campaign will run on November 7-13 in line with this year’s celebration of the Veteran’s Day on November 11.
The fundraising initiative is aimed towards the rehabilitation and re-entry efforts of U.S. soldiers. It hopes to start out this year by focusing on Texas veterans, but expects to launch nationally by 2012 with the help of partner state associations. The money that the fundraising will collect will be directed to help the Texas veterans’ housing, athletic, medical, physical and occupational training.
“Our veterans who came back home from military service and those who are still out there in their posts have important needs that we, as a conscientious society in Texas, have to support,” said the chief executive of the TRA, Richie Jackson. Studies have shown that since 2001, an estimate of 1.64 million U.S. military personnel who have been deployed to military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan have resulted in a whole new generation of veterans with multifaceted physical injuries and emotional and psychological trauma. The extent and severity of our military-service countrymen’s personal, social, vocational and economic concerns are astoundingly broad, and we need to help make a difference.
Restaurant operators can help in raising funds throughout the campaign duration for “Freedom Is Sweet” through various ways, including:
• Encouraging customers to contribute to the cause, by donating or getting discount coupons that they can use for their upcoming visits;
• Donating a portion of their sales on the Veteran’s Day holiday;
• Selecting a special food item whose proceeds will go directly to the charity funds;
• Chefs, in their quality coats and superior chef trousers, can create a special dessert or beverage that customers can buy in support of the cause; or
• Offering complimentary meals or free food or beverage items to members of military members and their families.
The donations coming from the restaurants will be administered by the NRA and the campaign’s program administrator, Tee It Up for the Troops, a 501C3 organization that forwards 95 cents of every dollar they get in donations to different charities that support the rehabilitation of military veterans.
“The NRA and the whole restaurant industry have always supported the causes that have been initiated for our military,” stated David Gilbert, chief operating officer of the NRA. “We do believe that this latest initiative, Freedom Is Sweet, can turn out to be a focused, long term program that can support and provide a positive impact on the lives of the military’s active members, veterans and their families. As many more of our soldiers return back home, the restaurant industry will work hard to make sure that careers shall be available to them through the National Restaurant Educational Foundation. This project offers scholarships to people in the military who wants to be chefs in superior white coats and chef trousers—seek professional training in the fields of hospitality management or culinary arts.”
“We re quite proud to have spearheaded Freedom Is Sweet in the U.S., and we hope that all restaurants will join us on Veteran’s Day in support of our military countrymen,” said Jackson.