Olive Garden Restaurant Supports OCVTS Community Service
Jean Sullivian, March 19, 2010
|Caption: Olive Garden General Manager Brian Smith, presented a check for $1000 to the OCVTS Feed the Need Project at the March OCVTS Board of Education meeting. From left to right are: Brick Center Principal’s Secretary Alicia Carney, Consumer Office Support Services Instructor Betty Walford-Coleman, Culinary Arts Instructor Chef Bruce VanSickle, Brian Smith, Brick Center Principal Lynn Sauer, and Board of Education President Nina Anuario.
TOMSRIVER, NEW JERSEY- As part of their philanthropic support of charitable organizations and schools across the country, the Olive Garden Restaurant in Toms River chose to donate $1000 to Ocean County Vocational Technical School’s ‘Feed the Need’ project.
Founded in 1982, Olive Garden is owned by Darden Restaurants, Inc. The Darden Restaurants Foundation “lives a culture that rewards caring for people and strives to have an enduring and positive influence on the communities where we live and work. “ General Manager Brian Smith explained that the Olive Garden runs several fundraising programs within the restaurant to support its charitable donations. For instance Mr. Smith explains, “If a customer comes in and is unsure of what beverage to order, our server will recommend a wine sampling which costs 25 cents.” That money would then be forwarded to the Foundation. In the past the Foundation would donate to national organizations, but this year a decision was made to allow each of its 706 restaurants to choose a local charity to support.
Mr. Smith went on to say, “This past November I read an article in the local paper about the Ocean County Vo Tech students preparing over 2,000 Thanksgiving meals for needy families. I knew that this ‘Feed the Need Project’ was the perfect cause for Olive Garden to support.”
Mr. Smith attended the March OCVTS Board of Education meeting and presented a check for $1000 to OCVTS Brick Center Principal Lynn Sauer, Culinary Arts Instructor Chef Bruce VanSickle, Consumer Office Support Services Instructor Betty Walford-Coleman and Secretary Alicia Carney.
Principal Sauer explained, “Bruce VanSickle, Betty Walford-Coleman and Alicia Carney play integral parts in the organization, collection of donations and preparations for this project, along with many, many others at the Brick Center. We are very proud of the efforts and very grateful for this donation.”
Board President Nina Anuario said, “In today’s world so many people are struggling to make ends meet and all businesses have been affected. With many people not able to dine out as often as in the past, we commend your efforts to continue to foster support for community service projects. We appreciate the fact that you chose our school district. The donation will be put to good use and we in turn can give back to our communities.”
The OCVTS ‘Feed the Need Project’ began nine years ago when 38 meals were distributed. Over the years the demand has grown and with it the determination of the students and staff to help as many people as possible. This past holiday season 2,000 Thanksgiving meals were distributed to local social service agencies identified by the Ocean County Hunger Relief program, such as the Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS), Preferred Behavioral Health, and Dottie’s House.
Fundraising and food collections involve students and staff from throughout the OCVTS district as well as many area businesses and the general public. A grant awarded to the project from the Ocean County Foundation for Vocational Technical Education helps purchase additional supplies. For more information or to make a donation please call 732.286.5670 x3212.