Thanksgiving in February

While plenty of holiday traditions include eating until one is full, few include the opportunity to give back to the community while doing so. Thanksgiving in February combines the two.

The event, which will take place this year on Feb. 28, has been hosted for over 20 years in Montgomery County and is sponsored by Interfaith Works, a nonprofit origination based in Rockville. Participating restaurants from around the area will donate from 10 to 20 percent of their profits from breakfast, lunch and/or dinner on that date to the charity.

Several Kentlands restaurants are participating in Thanksgiving in February, including Coal Fire, O’Donnell’s Sea Grill, Star Diner and Thai Tanium. In addition, there are restaurants participating in Rockville, Bethesda, Damascus and Silver Spring.

In addition to proceeds from restaurants, Downing said Whole Foods is donating 20 percent of the profits for all premade sandwiches sold on Feb. 28.

“No one really knows how it got started,” D’ana Downing, communications coordinator at Interfaith Works, said of the volunteer-oriented event.

“Interfaith handles all the administration task for [Thanksgiving in February],” she said. “Everything else is put together by volunteers. We couldn’t have done it without them.”

Thanksgiving in February is intended to raise public awareness and funds to help fight hunger, according to Downing. Although Montgomery County is one of the more affluent counties in the United States, there are still many people who go without food.

Manna Food Center, a well-known area food bank, served 103,335 people with its Food For Families program and helped 47,467 children with its Smart Snacks program in 2010 alone. In total, Manna distributed over 3,317,499 pounds of food in 2010.

GrillMarX Steakhouse in Olney is a new restaurant participating in Thanksgiving in February this year. “One of our goals as a new restaurant was to first help our surrounding community,” said owner Jackie Leach. “I think that Thanksgiving in February is a great way to show support not only to those in need, but to the hardworking volunteers that put it altogether.”

For more information on Thanksgiving in February, visit www.thanksgivinginfebruary.org.

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