What a week to eat, drink and do some good. 

As it turns out, cash donations to the Hudson Food Pantry from Hudson Restaurant Week this April total more than three times the amount typically collected.

The Hudson Food Pantry was selected as the charitable organization to benefit from the inaugural Hudson Restaurant Week, conducted April 9-13. Diners could support local eateries and help fight food insecurity in Hudson. Thanks to the generous commitment of 25 restaurants, 20 sponsors and a big-hearted community, HRW raised $8,000 and counting for the pantry, part of the Hudson Community Service Association.

"The $8,000 donated through Hudson Restaurant Week will cover our costs to run the Hudson Food Pantry for more than a year and support almost 750 people, including more than 225 children and 250 seniors," says the Rev. Michael Conklin, HCSA outgoing chairperson. "With these donations, we will be able to increase our offering of nutritious perishables for those most in need."

The annual cost of running the Hudson Food Pantry is $6,000, yet only $2,500 cash is donated annually (the remaining costs are covered by reserves and via grants for which the Pantry applies). Cash donations like those raised through HRW are critical, as they increase the pantry’s offering of nourishing staples such as produce, dairy and eggs. Research supports that wholesome, fresh food plays an essential role in wellness, and food pantries nationwide are working to increase the amount of healthy perishable items they can provide.

To continue the momentum of HRW and in recognition of September as Hunger Action Month, people are encouraged to donate to the Hudson Food Pantry. Gifts can be made online at http://bit.ly/feedhudson, or visit www.hudsoncommunityservice.org/contact/ to learn more about the pantry.

HRW was conceived by the Leadership Hudson Class of 2017 to celebrate the city’s many dining establishments and offer an easy way to contribute to hunger relief.

"Good food can unite us all, but that is hard to appreciate knowing there is hunger in our community," says Leadership Hudson Class of 2017 participant and HRW planning committee member Maureen Reich. "By uniting Hudson restaurants, businesses, community organizations and diners, we increased awareness of the need in our community. We also were able to raise more than three times the amount typically collected annually by the Pantry itself. When we come together to eat, drink and do good, we truly can accomplish so much."

Each Leadership Hudson class develops a project to benefit the wider Hudson community. For more information on Leadership Hudson or to apply for the next class, visit leadershiphudson.com.