For the third year in a row, Dada executive chef Bruce Feingold has been selected as the people's choice for best chef in our annual Best Of issue. But these days, Feingold has more than a title to be proud of. He's also the founder and creator of a charitable project that, to date, has raised more than $8,000 to help feed hungry kids in his own community, Delray.
Known as Healthy Bellies, the project -- which works in conjunction with Delray Beach's Achievement Center -- aims to feed and educate at-risk youth and their families on the importance of healthy eating habits.
This Fourth of July, Dada will host a cookout to raise money and awareness for the Healthy Bellies program.
"I knew I wanted to do something in the area. These kids don't get to eat regular meals, and the idea to help just made sense for us," said Feingold, who works alongside his wife, Amanda, to organize events and cooking lessons for the Achievement Center.
The Achievement Center has been serving Palm Beach County's neediest children and their families since 1969. As a nonprofit social services agency, the goal is to provide affordable quality care to children whose parents are unable to maintain a job or go to school without assistance. The programs are designed to meet a child's academic, social, emotional, and physical needs. Part of those support services includes meals. The Achievement Center currently provides daily breakfast, lunch, and a snack -- as well as two dinners a week -- to 700 families in Delray Beach.
When the Feingolds heard the dinners were limited to just twice a week, they decided to help and began Healthy Bellies as a way to raise money to donate to the Achievement Center to provide more food for the program. Today, the center is able to provide as many as four more dinners each week.
In addition, the Feingolds organize regular events at the Achievement Center, donating their time to help families and children learn the importance of a balanced diet. That includes cooking classes, smart grocery shopping to save money, healthy eating tips, and how to save money by staying away from fast food.
"I've proven over and over how much a single family can save at the grocery store making a meal for four, over what they spend at McDonald's," said Feingold, who has hosted four cooking classes to date. "I also provide as much educational awareness as I can, things like how to shop smart, buy in bulk, and take advantage of farmers' markets and produce stands."
Part of that includes a blog where the Feingolds post a regular "slow cooker Friday" recipe -- fun, healthy recipes that are quick, easy, and inexpensive but provide quality nutrition. The most recent recipe: rosemary pork sliders with a horseradish aioli.
This year, Dada will be hosting a special July 4th Cookout event to raise money for Healthy Bellies. Starting at 5 p.m., guests can enjoy live music and an outdoor BBQ, with all proceeds going to purchase large slow cookers to donate to Achievement Center families. Donations of old (but working) slow cookers are also being accepted.
"The goal is to raise enough money so that each family at the Achievement Center can have a crock pot for their home," said Feingold.
How can you get involved in supporting Healthy Bellies? Guests visiting Dada will have the opportunity make a donation in any amount at the end of their meal -- much like leaving a tip. Each month, the funds are collected and donated to the Achievement Center through Healthy Bellies.
Follow Nicole Danna on Twitter, @SoFloNicole.
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