Half a loaf

In the 1960s there was a movie called "The Trouble With Angels," in which Hayley Mills played one of a pair of mischievous students in a convent school.  Mills was the ringleader, and whenever she hatched a new scheme she’d say, "I have the most scathingly brilliant idea!"

Well, during her vacation the Nonprofiteer had the most scathingly brilliant idea for a fundraiser: Half for the Hungry.  The notion is that on a designated day restaurants would serve customers half of their usual portions, for which the customers would pay full price, with the difference going to a food bank or other charity working to alleviate hunger.  It costs more than half to produce half a portion, so restaurants would donate the balance themselves, in return for which they get lots of good will and publicity.  If the national chains like Applebee’s or TGIF bought into it, the
donations could go to America’s Second Harvest or to the big regional
food outfits like the Greater Chicago Food Depository.

In addition to its fundraising virtues, this plan would reveal to Americans how grossly huge our regular  portions are, and how easy it would be to reduce obesity just by returning to smaller, more sensible servings.

Has anybody done this?  If not, will somebody try it? 


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6 Responses to “Half a loaf”

  1. Sam Davis Says:

    This is a superb idea. And yes, Americans on average do eat too much. This sounds like a great, voluntary, way to kill two birds with one stone. Or, for the vegans out there, to cut two slices of tofu with one knife.

  2. Nonprofiteer Says:

    Glad you like it. As they used to say on the French’s mustard commercials, Spread the good word!

  3. Russ Burke Says:

    Outstanding idea, indeed. This is a proposal in which I’m thinking everybody wins. Not only do the hungry get fed, consciousness raised, donors actualized but then those restaurants, after the promotion, can start gradually reducing portions while maintaining pricing. Everybody wins and we might find that some large restuarant chains can become the leadership the Nonprofiteer looks for.

  4. underalms Says:

    Except that food banks are a significant part of the problem, due to their heavy reliance on the empty calorie output of the big food processors that provide their core support.

  5. Albert Ruesga Says:

    Superb idea. Just tell me when you’re going to do it so I can order two entrees.

  6. Nonprofiteer Says:

    I’m thrilled that many of you seem to like this idea–now all we have to do is find a worthy nonprofit willing to put it into action! But underalms’s point about the role of food banks in the perpetuation of hunger is a serious one. First, there’s the banks’ role in enabling food processors to dump their surplus on people too poor to defend themselves–as our free-market friend Sam Davis would point out, if the processors can’t sell this stuff they should start making less, or better.

    But it turns out I actually believe that half a loaf is better than none: as long as we don’t have a serious national food-security policy the food banks are an essential safety net, and it’s one I’m not willing to shred until its replacement is in place.

    I’m prepared to be dissuaded from this posture, though–it’s not a terribly principled one.

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