We all love giving gifts to our friends and loved ones during the holiday season, but what if you had the chance to give to those in need too, just by going to dinner? This month, American Express in partnership with charitable organization Share Our Strength announced their Dine for a Cause initiative. Each time someone uses a registered Amex card for dinner, drinks, dessert—you name it! —American Express will donate $1 (and up to one million dollars) to end childhood hunger this holiday season. Actress Stacy Keibler, a passionate advocate for Share Our Strength, has also partnered with the companies to get the word out about Dine for a Cause. Today on Dec. 23, Examiner.com had the pleasure of speaking with Stacy exclusively about Dine for a Cause and her holiday plans.
Below is our full Q&A with Stacy:
Can you tell me why ending childhood hunger is such a priority for you?
Well no children should grow up hungry in America, but 16 million kids, which is 1 in 5, in this nation struggle with hunger. And kids who are hungry don’t perform as well in school; they’re sick more often than their peers, so it’s really important for kids—for their development and growth, and a successful future—to have nutritious food.
How did you become involved with Share Our Strength in the first place?
I actually met someone from No Kid Hungry, and spoke to them about the charity and immediately wanted to get involved. So I’m honored to partner with American Express and No Kid Hungry, and to do my part in helping to feed hungry children this holiday season.
The Dine for a Cause campaign runs until the end of January, and we know they just rolled it out. Why do you think it’s important to introduce this kind initiative, particularly during the holiday season?
I think that it’s the easiest way to give back because we’re all connecting with friends and family, and we’re going out to have dinners over the holiday season. So if you’re an American Express card member, and you register your card here, then every single time you use your American Express at every restaurant they donate a dollar. Our goal is to hopefully raise one million dollars, and for every dollar raised, ten kids will get a meal. So if we meet these goals, then ten million children will get a healthy meal this season.
That’s wonderful. We know the Campaign emphasizes providing healthy food to hungry children and their families. Do you think it can be a challenge to educate children about nutrition and healthy food, and steer them away from junk food?
I feel that that is one of the great things about No Kid Hungry—that it connects kids in need to nutritious food where they live, and they also have programs like school breakfasts and summer meals, and classes that actually teach their families how to shop and cook healthy, affordable food at home. So I think that it’s a challenge in our country today for everyone to eat healthy. You know, it’s a shame that eating healthy has to be so expensive, and hopefully slowly we are going to change that.
What are you looking forward to most this holiday season? Are you going to be with your family?
Yes, my parents actually arrive in California today! I’m just excited to rest and relax, and just have a good time.
Any favorite family recipes you’ll be making?
Hmm, we’re usually traveling during the holidays because it’s that time of year when we can all take a little bit of a break, so [laughing] we take a break in the kitchen too.
Do you have any tips for staying healthy during the holidays? It’s usually pretty tough to avoid all those desserts…
Yeah! I would say that if I know I’m going to a dinner party at night or I’m getting together for a big family dinner, then I just try to be really conscious of what I’m eating throughout the day, and try to have a juice or a smoothie as one of my meals. And that way I can indulge a little bit more, because if you eat three huge meals throughout the day then, you know…you have more work to do afterwards.
Brigid Ronan contributed reporting.