Celebrating its 25th anniversary, Fifth Group Restaurants gave back to commemorate another milestone, the 35th annual Hunger Walk Run on April 28. The group, which includes South City Kitchen, La Tavola, Trattoria and other restaurants, raised $100,855 for the Atlanta Community Food Bank.
“I cannot imagine a better way to put a cap on Fifth Group’s first quarter century in Atlanta than exceeding a landmark fundraising goal for the Hunger Walk Run,” Robby Kukler, partner of Fifth Group Restaurants and Food Bank vice-chair, said.
Just surpassing its 2019 goal of $100,000, it marked the 11th year the group has been involved with fundraising for the Hunger Walk Run, though its relationship with the food bank extends even further. Donations took many forms and were, for the most part, led by individual restaurants.
Over those 11 years, the fundraising total has steadily grown, now surpassing over $600,000, which Fifth Group estimates is nearly 2.4 million meals donated.
This year’s fundraising — the first time the total has reached six figures — is enough for about 403,000 meals for the Atlanta community, according to Heather Schlesinger, ACFB Chief Marketing Officer.
“We got very close last year. Our goal then was $100,000 and we got to about $98,000 and some change,” Kukler said. “It was really exciting, and it’s grown each year and allows us to continue to build on the success that we had.”
Guests at Fifth Group restaurants were asked to donate following their meals, or to contribute online, but guests were not the only ones to leave their marks. Employees came together to raise more than $20,000 in personal donations, making their own impact on the fundraising.
“We are surrounded by great food all day, and we make our livelihood on that food,” Kukler said. “It really shows that our employees understand the importance of food and the need to get it to the right people. It makes me that much more proud of all the people who work for our company.”
The ACFB is the largest food bank in the Southeast and provides tens of millions of meals to those in need in Georgia each year. It estimates that for every $5 raised, it can provide about 20 meals to hungry people and families.
“We live in a state where one in seven residents struggle with hunger and one in five children live in food insecure households, meaning they don’t know where their next meal will come from,” Schlesinger said. “With the support from amazing organizations like the Fifth Group Restaurants, we can provide essential meals to those who might otherwise go hungry.”