For the fifth straight year, local restaurants are pairing up with Planet 94.1 and Children’s Dental to Feed the Planet.
For a five dollar donation, St. George residents can eat at one of nine restaurants from November 1-11. But that’s not where it stops. Your donation will also feed someone in need at Dixie Care and Share, our local food bank and homeless shelter.
Since I can’t pass up a good deal, I followed Planet 94.1 to the first restaurant location on Tuesday- the one and only Smashburger. Planet 94.1 sets up outside a featured restaurant and you can trade in your five bucks for a little red carnival ticket. Each restaurant will usually provide a couple of meal options for the price of your ticket, and for once in your life tax is exempt since the cost of your meal is a donation, not a purchase. After I ordered a spicy baja burger and wedge salad, I watched the cash register total up the normal price of my menu choice- $8.98. So with my handy dandy little ticket in tow, I scored a savings of four dollars. My friend, however, quickly passed me up with seven-dollar savings. Talk about stretching the dollar.
Believe it or not Feed the Planet was started in a Wal-Mart parking lot, where Planet 94.1 broadcaster LaRae Nelson posted a sign to collect food and money for the food bank. Five years later it transformed itself into what you see now– restaurants taking turns to offer lunch or dinner to the public for a good holiday cause.
“People love it,” Nelson said. “They get ahold of a schedule and follow us around from restaurant to restaurant. Most people can’t feed their families for less than what we offer them, so they totally support it. It’s a great deal.”
Papa John’s, Red Robin, La Frontera, and Russo’s New York Style Pizza are just a few restaurants feeding the planet this year. Each restaurant will sell 100 tickets for a two hour increment on its’ designated day. Even Westates Theatre will take a turn, offering a movie voucher and medium popcorn for your donation.
Smashburger worked with Canyon Media Radio to get involved in Feed the Planet.
Restaurant Manager Roy Staheli said, “Canyon Media feels very strongly about it, and we were happy to do it as well. One of our company mottoes is to do well– do good! So we like to chip in and help when we can. It’s always good to help the less fortunate.”
St. George resident Andrea Angona said the radio advertisement brought her and her family of four out to Smashburger.
“It’s nice to know that all the proceeds go to charity and that it’s not going for profits,” she said. “It’s a great way to try a new restaurant and to know that you’re helping Dixie Care and Share. It’s a win-win.”
I followed Feed the Planet to Benja’s on Thursday and as I helped myself to a buffet of pad thai, fried rice and chicken cucumber soup (seriously a buffet for five dollars!). I got to thinking that these eight restaurants are in fact losing money since they don’t profit from a check at the end of each meal.
However, restaurant owner Benja Peterson didn’t see it as losing at all. She said she wanted to ask 94.1 about it a long time ago, so when they asked Benja’s to participate she jumped at the chance.
“You bet I’ll do it,” she said. “I’ve been waiting to do this for a long time and I’m going to keep doing it. I want to help Dixie Care and Share.”
Peterson said many guests hadn’t been to Benja’s before so it was also a good opportunity to get new visitors through the door.
On Thursday Nelson announced on 94.1 that in addition to a $2,000 donation from Children’s Dental, Smashburger brought in 450 dollars, Chili’s raked in 500 dollars and Benja’s raised 500 dollars, coming to a grand total of nearly $3,500 for Dixie Care and Share in three days.
“We’re not losing, we’re giving away,” Peterson said. “The community needs to be together. We’re all one so if we’re not helping each other, we’re losing.”
To view the Feed the Planet restaurant schedule visit http://planet941.com/default.asp?pid=24922.