The Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance has partnered with Doe’s Eat Place, Lindsey’s BBQ & Hospitality House and Trio’s Restaurant on Plating Change, an initiative to fight food insecurity and support small businesses.

Entrepreneur and philanthropist Marcus Lemonis founded the initiative and will  pledge $35,000 to Trio’s and Doe’s and $40,000 to Lindsey’s BBQ. The funding will allow the restaurants to prepare and distribute a total of 11,000 meals to Arkansans in need, beginning Wednesday, Jan. 20, and running through Friday, March 26.

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Lemonis’ pledge to each restaurant will help cover the cost of food purchases and preparations as well as wages for restaurant employees. Each restaurant has partnered with the Alliance to distribute the meals through local organizations, community sites, colleges, churches and affordable housing communities, including the following: Jericho Way, From His Throne Ministries, Philander Smith College, Canvas Community Church, Buffington Towers, Southwest Little Rock Community Center, St. Francis House, Stewpot, and Phoenix House. The Plating Change initiative is also supported by Ben E. Keith Company and Sysco Foods of Arkansas.

“My goal is to keep Main Street USA alive and well during the economic troubles that COVID-19 has brought to our small business owners and restaurants,” Lemonis said in a press release. Lemonis, Camping World CEO and host of CNBC’s “The Profit” and “Streets of Dreams with Marcus Lemonis,” recently donated $500,000 to help businesses damaged by the Christmas Day bombing in Nashville.

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“Here in Central Arkansas and in towns across America, we are creating a movement where we’re giving everyone the opportunity to ‘bet on humanity’ and give back. That is something we can all feel good about,” Lemonis said.

The Plating Change initiative has also partnered with actor and North Little Rock native Mary Steenburgen and her husband, actor Ted Danson, who are both longtime supporters of the No Kid Hungry campaign to combat childhood hunger. When Danson was made aware of Lemonis’ Plating Change initiative, he and Steenburgen wanted to find a way to bring the program to the Central Arkansas community. Steenburgen reached out to city director Capi Peck, her childhood friend and executive chef and owner of Trio’s Restaurant, to discuss collaborating on Plating Change with legacy restaurants in Little Rock and North Little Rock. Considering Steenburgen’s connection to Lindsey’s BBQ in her hometown, her relationship to Doe’s Eat Place and its significant political history and her lifelong friendship with Peck, the three institutions were selected, and the work to plan the Plating Change meal distribution began.

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More from the press release:

“The Alliance is very grateful for the support of Marcus Lemonis, Mary Steenburgen and Ted Danson on this incredible initiative,” said Kathy Webb, executive director of the Alliance. “Because of their generosity and passion for our mission work to fight hunger in Arkansas, the Alliance has been able to coordinate with Trio’s, Doe’s and Lindsey’s BBQ, as well as several dedicated partners, on the distribution of 11,000 meals to Arkansans in need. This will have a significant impact on our community and in the lives of our neighbors facing food insecurity during an especially devastating and difficult time.”

 

“We were honored to join forces with Marcus Lemonis, our friend Capi Peck and the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance to bring the Plating Change Initiative to Arkansas,” said Mary Steenburgen and Ted Danson. “It is important to us to never forget those places in Arkansas that we hold dear. This is a critical moment in our state’s history, and we are inspired by the Arkansans who are working so hard to make life better for their neighbors. Please join them and us in supporting Arkansas restaurants and feeding our fellow Arkansans.”

 

The launch of the Plating Change initiative will help thousands of Arkansas individuals and families get food on their tables, and it will provide much-needed support to the dedicated staff of Doe’s, Lindsey’s BBQ and Trio’s — three cherished legacy restaurants in the Central Arkansas community.

 

About Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance 

Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance, lead partner in Arkansas for the No Kid Hungry campaign, is a non-profit collaborative network of more than 520 hunger relief organizations across Arkansas. Our founding members include the Arkansas Foodbank in Little Rock, the Food Bank of Northeast Arkansas in Jonesboro, Harvest Regional Food Bank in Texarkana, Food Bank of North Central Arkansas in Norfork, Northwest Arkansas Food Bank in Bethel Heights and River Valley Regional Food bank in Fort Smith. The Alliance is a collaborative organization that works on behalf of Arkansans facing hunger. We invite you to visit ARhungeralliance.org for details on hunger relief programs, volunteer opportunities and donor information.

 

About Plating Change  

The “Plating Change” program falls under the newly launched The Lemon-Aid Foundation, where Marcus Lemonis pledged $50 million to champion his charitable mission of supporting and investing in underserved communities and small businesses. These investments will be in the form of loans and equity investments and will be designed to have a measurable charitable impact on the communities and businesses being served by the foundation. The foundation also intends to make grants to other charitable organizations that share the same mission and goals. Lemonis intends to apply the same type of rigor that he applies in his own investments to the impact investing of the foundation. Visit marcuslemonis.com/lemon-aid-foundation/plating-change for more information.