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Benefit Spurs 20 Restaurants to Donate Their Fare Share

Establishments will give a portion of a day's sales for a county group's fund-raiser to help feed the needy.


Nearly 20 Ventura County restaurants have signed up for the Dine Out-Help Out fund-raiser, scheduled for mid-October, to benefit the countywide food bank, FOOD Share Inc.

In conjunction with World Food Day, participating establishments on Oct. 16 will donate 10% of their gross sales to the local food bank's Ready Prepared Meals Program. The program picks up surplus ready-to-eat food from more than 50 restaurants countywide and disperses it to local homeless shelters and other social service locations.

Restaurant owners who sign up for the inaugural Dine Out-Help Out fund-raiser by the end of this week will have their establishments listed in all material promoting the event, as well as on the event's information line, (800) 896-DINE, which will go into effect Monday.

Jewel Pedi, coordinator of the event, said she has had a positive response from local restaurant owners and is already working on getting restaurants for next year's event.

"We went out a month or two ago and many of the restaurants had already obligated themselves to other things," Pedi said. "But I think many more will sign up next year because they'll be able to include us in their budget. . . . We are really excited about getting this off the ground."

Participating establishments include the the Ranch House Restaurant, the Ojai Valley Inn & Country Club and Tottenham Court in Ojai; Avanti in Oak View; Allison's Country Cafe, the Italian Cafe, Roadrunner Restaurant, Yolie's Mexican Cafe, Manhattan Bagel Co., Doc & Sandy's, Arby's Roast Beef and Hungry Howie's Pizza in Ventura; Little Thai and Antonio's Italian Restaurant in Camarillo; and the Manhattan Bagel outlet in Port Hueneme.

Dave Skaggs, manager of the Ranch House, said his restaurant has assisted FOOD Share in many ways over the years.

"We've supported them for the last 15 years or more, through Meals on Wheels, donating to rest homes, donating leftover bread," he said. "We're lending our name and support to [Dine Out] and hoping it helps out. We're going to do a little extra additional advertising around that time."

Skaggs signed a letter of support that Pedi sent out to area restaurants as part of her recruiting effort. He said participating restaurateurs are really going out of their way to lend a hand.

"I don't know a restaurant around that has a 10% profit margin," he said, "so we'll all be dipping into the coffers a bit."

Of course, getting restaurants to participate is just half the job. For the program to work, diners have to visit the establishments. And that's something else Pedi is working on.

"We would like to encourage corporations that have a large staff to go out that day and have lunch or dinner at these restaurants," she said.

Restaurant owners interested in signing up can fax FOOD Share at 485-4156 or call 983-7100.


Here's one for those who really know their oats.

The Quaker Oats Co. is looking for entries in several categories for its "Bake It Better With Oats" recipe contest.

Children and adults can team up to enter a cookie, muffin or bread recipe in the "Just for Kids" category and adults can submit their versions in the "Cookies" or "Muffins / Breads" divisions.

Entries must contain no more than a dozen ingredients (not counting water and salt) and at least two cups of Quaker Oats for cookies and one cup for other items. For detailed rules, call (800) FOR-OATS or write to Quaker Contest Rules, P.O. Box 1370, Barrington, Ill. 60011. Deadline to enter is Oct. 31.

There is no cost to enter, and Quaker Oats will donate $1 of its own for each entry to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

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