Thursday, January 14, 2016

Kansas City Restaurant Week Kick-Off

One of the magical moments during today's visit to a CCVI classroom.
Depending on their abilities the kids use a combination of sight and
touch with a healthy amount of singing and peer assistance to put
together the daily calendar.
It is very timely that as we kick off Kansas City Restaurant Week I was priveleged to be a guest in a Children's Center for the Visually Impaired (CCVI) classroom. Earlier today I spent several hours among the amazing professionals and volunteers that work tirelessly to prepare children with visual impairments (including many with multiple disabilities) to reach their highest potential in the sighted world. Honestly I was completely blown away by the magic that takes place there every day. My classroom was made up of three-year-olds with disabilities that ranged (to my decidedly non-professional eye) from moderate to heartbreakingly severe. Within the same classroom all of these kids engaged in learning and play,  singing and dancing, eating and clean-up, genuine friendship and active cooperation - in an atmosphere that would draw a tear of joy from the most cynical among us.

Why is this timely? Why is this important? Well, one of the things that's often lost in the celebration, the circus, the excitement that's known as Restaurant Week is the fact that there are three very important charitable organizations that directly benefit from the money you spend. For 2016 these organizations are:

Children's Center for the Visually Impaired
Founded in 1952 in the basement of an area church, CCVI has grown to serve more than 300 children annually from birth to age eight in the Kansas City metro with visual impairments. The center offers programs for children and their families including a food program designed to teach children with visual impairments positive eating habits, leading to the development of good health and positive social skills.

Founded in 2010, the mission of BoysGrow is to teach entrepreneurism to urban male youth in the Kansas City area through farming and agriculture. The organization operates two working farms maintained by male youth, ages 13-16, from throughout the metro. Participants use fruits and vegetables grown at the farms to create products such as ketchup, salsa, barbecue sauce and hot sauce to be sold in local restaurants and food stores.

Founded in 2005, the organization works to grow food, farms and communities for a healthier local food system in the Kansas City area. Beginning in 2015, Cultivate KC will take ownership of Beans&Greens, a program to provide incentive to those receiving government assistance to shop at local farmers markets. The program matches dollar for dollar EBT, SNAP or other assistance-program monies spent at farmers markets, allowing low-income families to effectively double their budget when purchasing healthy, locally produced items as well as bringing new customers to local farmers.

These are good organization doing important work right here in Kansas City. They deserve your attention.

Last year, Restaurant Week raised $310,000 for local charities. The event has raised more than $1 million since 2009.

Go forth and eat! Sample the delights that Kansas City's best restaurants have to offer and smile knowingly that you did more than just satisfy your hunger.

Read more here:


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