Serving 1 million free meals in just ten years might seem a little bit ambitious to some, but for one Latham-based nonprofit, it’s going to be a reality by the end of the year. That’s what The Century House‘s sustained-giving food program, “Enjoy One, Share One,” is on track to do.
If you’re unfamiliar with The Century House, besides being a hotel, it’s also a popular restaurant and event space. In 2009, it founded “Enjoy One, Share One,” which helps fight hunger in the Capital Region through a partnership with the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York. The food bank takes food donations from partners in the industry—like The Century House’s restaurant—and distributes them to the poor and hungry in 23 counties in New York State, from Plattsburgh all the way down to Newburgh, south of Poughkeepsie.
The Century House’s food program is simple but effective: It allows guests to participate without any additional costs to them. For every person who stays a night at The Century House or who orders an entrée in the restaurant, “Enjoy One, Share One” donates a portion of those funds to the Regional Food Bank. There’s even a “Book of Giving” at The Century House, which guests can sign as a reminder of their charitable donations. At last count, Enjoy One Share One has helped provide more than 950,000 meals to those in need in the Capital Region. “We are on target to meet our 1 million milestone later this year,” says Maribeth Livingston, The Century House’s Director of Marketing. “The program has had a huge impact on our community, but the community has also been so supportive of both our business and the program.”
The “Enjoy One, Share One” program was the brainchild of The Century House’s Managing Partner, Colin DeMers, who wanted to create a business model that could double as a socially responsible, sustained-giving organization. “What’s great about the program is that by simply coming to The Century House and enjoying a meal, guests are helping to alleviate hunger in our community,” says Livingston. In addition to “Enjoy One, Share One,” The Century House also organizes several free meals for nearby homeless shelters and food kitchens.
Besides its one-millionth meal milestone, The Century House’s “Enjoy One, Share One” program is also celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. “We’re currently discussing several options that would allow us to engage with both staff and the community, and provide us with an opportunity to thank guests for their support,” says Livingston. An anniversary celebration is slated for later this spring or summer.