Communities In Schools will host a Dine Out for Kids on June 19 throughout Charlotte to raise money to support its efforts to keep more high school students enrolled.
More than 65 restaurant locations in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg area will participate, donating a percentage of proceeds from that day’s sales.
“This is really just a fun way to get the entire community involved. Anyone and everyone needs to go out to eat,” said May Johnston, community relations director for Communities In Schools.
This is the only communitywide fundraiser the organization holds during the year; it has many smaller ticketed events.
All proceeds will go toward helping the 6,700 students at many schools throughout Charlotte-Mecklenburg who the organization assists every year. Communities In Schools provides dropout prevention services, college access and career readiness programs, as well as programs that help teen mothers stay in school.
The portion of money given to Communities In Schools will vary by restaurant, but all establishments that are participating will give at least some percentage of their sales.
To give all people and families the opportunity to participate, Communities In Schools has selected restaurants in many different price ranges and locations, and has made an effort to include restaurants that serve breakfast, lunch and/or dinner.
“It’s a great and easy way for people to be able to donate,” Johnston said.
The organization also uses this event to raise awareness of the dropout rate in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. According to Johnston, around 75 percent of entering high school freshmen eventually graduate.
In 1986, Charlotte became the first city in North Carolina to receive help from Communities In Schools. About 35 N.C. cities now host branches of the group. Nationally, more than 200 cities in 25 states have Communities In Schools branches.
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg branch has about 55 site coordinators, with at least one but up to four at every school. West Charlotte High School has the most site coordinators of any school in the system, because of a new grant Communities In Schools received for its Project LIFT.
Project LIFT works with schools that feed into West Charlotte High School to help better prepare at-risk middle and elementary school students for high school.
Besides the money raised by restaurants, the event has many sponsors, including Bank of America, HMS Host, Piedmont Natural Gas, Coca-Cola and more.