South Bend restaurants donate proceeds to charity providing meals for Ukrainians

NOW: South Bend restaurants donate proceeds to charity providing meals for Ukrainians

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SOUTH BEND, Ind. --- Several restaurants that contribute to the dining experience in downtown South Bend are showing support to the Ukrainians fleeing their homes, who are especially in need of meals. The participating restaurants partnered up to collectively make a donation to the World Central Kitchen in Ukraine, a charity providing hot meals to Ukrainians currently stuck at the border.

“I think it’s just a great opportunity for restaurants to help out in a way that I think is very appropriate for our industry," says Matt Soutra, Vice President of Navarre Hospitality Group.

Eighteen restaurants in and around downtown South Bend are participating in the fundraiser; and it's as easy as dining in, taking carry out, or even getting a meal delivered from one of these restaurants to donate to the cause. Some people behind the fundraiser say that the World Central Kitchen was the most fitting option for a charity as they serve hot meals to those in need.

“Right now, the key place is down at the Polish-Ukrainian border, and they’re feeding thousands of people a day. Simple food, but warm, hot meals for people who have nothing," says Mark McDonnell, Founder and President of Downtown Dining Association of South Bend.

“For them to be really on the front lines and in Poland right now, helping people in Ukraine that are suffering from food shortages, it’s just a fantastic organization and I think it really represents the comradery amongst the restaurants in downtown South Bend," says Soutra.

Making charitable donations for a cause is not a new concept to independent restaurants anywhere, and that's why the Downtown Dining Association of South Bend was so quick to find a way to provide help.

“Restaurants, particularly independent restaurants are some of the first to respond and be charitable of all the businesses. We’re always asked to help local charities and so, we’re kind of in that mode all the time," McDonnell says.

For the rest of the month, Cafe Navarre is offering a special blue and yellow drink called the 'Lev', the Ukrainian word for 'love', and 100% of it's proceeds go to the World Central Kitchen. People are encouraged by these restaurants to come dine downtown and support the cause.

“Come out, come downtown South Bend all through the month of March and dine for a great cause," Soutra says.

To see a full list of restaurants participating in the fundraiser, visit the Eat Drink Downtown South Bend website.

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