Dine out – and help out

Central Leader - - News - By Janie Smith

Peo­ple will have a chance to help the needy while din­ing out this Christ­mas.

Auck­land chef Mark Gre­gory is start­ing up a char­ity called DineAid, based on the in­ter­na­tional char­ity Streets­mart.

Dur­ing Novem­ber and De­cem­ber, din­ers will be asked if they would like to add $2 to their bill.

With cor­po­rate spon­sors cov­er­ing ad­min­is­tra­tion costs, all the money do­nated will go to a range of char­i­ties.

“One hun­dred per­cent of the money stays in New Zealand to help New Zealan­ders,” says Mr Gre­gory.

It will ben­e­fit or­gan­i­sa­tions help­ing fam­i­lies at risk and youth train­ing and men­tor­ing.

Mr Gre­gory says he has per­son­ally signed up about 30 restau­rants and more than 100 venues in Auck­land, Welling­ton and Queen­stown are par­tic­i­pat­ing.

“From the restau­rants’ point of view, why not? They are shown to be good cit­i­zens in their lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties and it doesn’t cost them any­thing.”

Hav­ing been in­volved with Streets­mart while work­ing in the United King­dom, Mr Gre­gory saw how suc­cess­ful it be­came and de­cided to start DineAid when he re­turned to New Zealand.

His mother Chris­tine has vol­un­teered to run the Mt Eden of­fice and Mr Gre­gory will work full­time on get­ting the char­ity up and run­ning.

“If we only had 150 restau­rants and they did 20 ta­bles a day for the 54 days DineAid runs, we would raise $300,000. That would be fan­tas­tic.”

So far the char­ity has gath­ered sup­port from peo­ple in the in­dus­try and New Zealand celebri­ties in­clud­ing mu­si­cian Tim Finn and broad­caster John Hawkesby.

Photo: JA­SON OXENHAM

Char­ity chef: Mark Gre­gory is start­ing DineAid to ben­e­fit char­i­ties.

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