This July St. Louis Restaurants Team Up To Fight Hunger Locally

Dine out and do good this July! Over 90 St. Louis restaurants have banded together to participate in Operation Food Searchโ€™s 9th Annual Tomato Explosion event. The event will raise money to help connect kids at risk for hunger to nutritious meals this summer. Last year, over $27,000 was raised.

Operation Food Search supports 200,000 children, teens, and adults each month by distributing food through 300+ community partners in Missouri and Illinois. All of the donations made by restaurants in this event will go directly to fund Operation Food Searchโ€™s mission of healing hunger in St. Louis.

How does it work?

This month between July 1st – July 31st, simply dine at one of the participating restaurants (listed at and order its featured tomato-inspired dish and a portion of the proceeds ($2-5 per dish) will be donated to Operation Food Search to support their Summer Hunger Initiative.

Kristen Wild, Executive Director of Operation Food Search explained the event in a press release sent to EQ, “Each July, we call upon the restaurant industry to come together to help our neighbors in need. โ€œTomato Explosionโ€ is a month-long campaign in July during which restaurants feature a tomato-inspired dish from their menu and pledge a certain donation back to OFS each time that dish is ordered. Together we can end childhood hunger and family food insecurity.”

This year’s Tomato Explosion is made possible with the support of local St. Louis organizations โ€“ GiftAMeal, Sauce Magazine, and Tonyโ€™s Family Farms.

GiftAMeal has added all participating restaurants to its mobile app for free in July. That means that, in addition to ordering the featured tomato-inspired dish, diners can also take a photo on the free GiftAMeal app, which donates additional meals to feed Operation Food Search. Each photo will automatically be entered into a contest for the best Tomato Explosion photo, and three winners will receive $100 gift cards to the restaurant at which they took the photo.

Sauce Magazine led the publicizing of the event on print and digital media. And Tonyโ€™s Family Farms offered a major discount on tomatoes to participating restaurants for the month of July.

Which restaurants are involved?

Restaurants that have committed their full support include Mai Lee, Herbie’s, Kingside Diner, Crushed Red, Milque Toast Bar, Mango, Russell’s, Bill Gianino’s, Frankie G’s Grill & Bar, Frankie Gianino’s Grill & Bar, Joey B’s, Babbo’s Spaghetteria, Sugo’s Spaghetteria, Tavolo V, Via Vino Enoteca, Il Palato, Del Pietro’s, Club Taco (Kirkwood), and Mission Taco. Go support them to maximize your impact on this event!

“As a parent and as a chef seeing kids that are food insecure is one of the most heartbreaking things that you could face, and there is really no excuse for it. And so itโ€™s up to myself, everybody I work with, my colleagues, and everybody in the food industry to step up and try to do something about it,” said Gerard Craft, Owner of Pastaria, Taste, Brasserie by Niche, and Sardella.

A full list of participating restaurants is available at Join Operation Food Search, GiftAMeal, Sauce Magazine, Tonyโ€™s Family Farms, and all participating restaurants to help heal hunger this July!

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