Mealshare program lets restaurants put charity on the menu
Michael Shulman, CTVNews.ca Staff
Published Friday, November 21, 2014 10:59PM EST
Last Updated Friday, November 21, 2014 11:34PM EST
Two business-school graduates are helping restaurants across Canada add charity to their menus.
Mealshare is a non-profit organization founded by twenty-something entrepreneurs Jeremy Bryant and Andrew Hall. The duo, based out of Victoria, B.C., came up with the idea to enlist restaurants to donate one dollar of the price of select menu items toward a local charity and the international charity Save the Children.
At least 70 cents of each donation will help to provide meals to people in need, both locally and abroad.
Menu items at participating restaurants will be marked by a logo indicating they're part of the Mealshare program.
Derek Juno, Mealshare's vice-president of business development, hopes the convenience will help push restaurant-goers to feed the hungry.
"We have come up with a concept that makes it so, so easy to give back," he told CTV Toronto.
Last year, only a handful of restaurants in Edmonton had signed on. But Mealshare logos can now be found on the menus of more than 80 eateries, including major Canadian cities like Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto.
One Toronto chef is proud to say part of the price of his signature St. Lawrence salad will help to feed hungry people.
"It feels good for everybody because you get to go: 'Hey you just ordered the salad I'm proud of, and we both just gave to charity,’" said Brad Long, chef at Belong Cafe.
"Isn't that great?"
Mealshare has partnered with the Parkdale Activity Recreation Centre in Toronto to help pay for its community meal program. The program had been surviving off monetary contributions from the Boulevard Club and food donations from Second Harvest and the Daily Bread Food Bank.
Victor Willis, the rec centre's executive director, is excited that Mealshare plans to help pitch in.
"We have far too many people not getting nutritious food, so I couldn't imagine a better partnership," he said.
Juno says that those involved with Mealshare have all seen "extreme poverty" firsthand in developing countries. The partnership with Save the Children allows them to give back to those countries. The program currently helps feed school children in Mali meals made from local ingredients.
"(We) want to help kids around the world who are malnourished and in need of food," said Co-founder Jeremy Bryant.
So far, Mealshare says they've served over 100,000 meals, but the hope is that's just the start.
With a report by CTV’s John Vennavally-Rao in Toronto