LEE COUNTY, Fla. — Three weeks of dining throughout Southwest Florida -- with one mission to help feed young people on the weekends.
It's called “Sizzle Dining,” with restaurants throughout Lee and Collier counties, offering their signature dishes – to fill the palate but also fill backpacks, when school is out.
Coldwater Oyster Market, LYNQ, and The Melting Pot are just some of the few restaurants that help reduce food insecurity with young students with Sizzle Dining, an annual dining program.
Guy Clark is the Founder of “Sizzle Dining,” which goes for 21 days, starting on September 8th.
“When people go out to eat they normally go to their safe places or the places they’re comfortable with,” Clark said. “ The event allows people to try new places that they haven't been to.”
Clark says with doing so, allows people to try different cuisine but also dine with a purpose – to help the Southwest Florida chapter of blessings in a backpack – helping to feed elementary students on weekends when they don’t get school lunch.
The group said $130 dollars can feed a child for one school year.
“With every sizzle dining meal sold, $1 is donated from the restaurant directly to Blessings-In-A-Backpack,” Clark said.
Blessings-In-A-Backpack Leaders tell us the group serves more than 6,000 students who live with food insecurity.
“We send home every Friday, two breakfasts, and two lunches to get them over that 65-hour hump of the weekend,” Cecilia St. Arnold, Executive Director of Blessings In A Backpack said.
Arnold says, with the help of the sizzle dining event, they can keep feeding children so they can focus on school and not when they will get their next meal.
“When they get back to school on Monday they have that breakfast,” Arnold said. “ Their tummies have not been depleted of proper nutrition.”
The Sizzle Dining website lists all 32 restaurants – from Sanibel to Estero to Fort Myers to Naples – and even the menus for people to step outside their culinary comfort zone to make the weekend a little more comfortable for thousands of young people.