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Thursday, April 8, 2010 09:06 pm

Eat out for a good cause

Share-A-Meal on April 13 supports local charities

We would like to make an offer to our friends and neighbors in Springfield that we hope they can’t refuse.

Would you rather attend a stuffy fundraising dinner with a group of people you don’t know, or enjoy a delicious meal with family and friends at a great restaurant in your area and still support very important causes? With Share-A-Meal, you not only will have a wonderful meal with people you enjoy but also support 13 local charities in Sangamon County.

The seventh annual Share-A-Meal with Community Shares will be held at restaurants in Springfield on Tuesday, April 13. The event is sponsored by Community Shares of Illinois, a nonprofit organization representing more than 78 charities statewide.

Three participating restaurants in Springfield will donate a percentage of their meal proceeds to Community Shares of Illinois and its member organizations. Using pledge cards provided at each restaurant, diners will also have the option to direct a portion of their bills to any of the 78 charities that are members of Community Shares of Illinois.

Participating restaurants in Springfield include:

Maldaner’s – 222 South Sixth Street (lunch and dinner).

Augie’s Front Burner – 2 West Old Capitol Plaza (lunch and dinner).

Tai Pan – 2636 Stevenson Drive

All you have to do to contribute is dine at one of these participating restaurants. Share-A-Meal combines the pleasure of eating out with the joy of giving in one fun-filled event.

Community Shares of Illinois represents more than 78 organizations working to make our state a better place to live. These organizations work to improve the quality of life in Illinois by addressing a wide range of issues, including affordable housing, health care, the environment and civil rights, as well as other issues affecting women, children, people of color, working families, people with disabilities and the poor. Of the 78 charities, 13 are located in the Springfield area. They are: Abraham Lincoln Memorial Gardens, Animal Protective League, Coalition of Citizens with Disabilities in Illinois, Illinois Assistive Technology Program, Illinois Network of Centers for Independent Living, Illinois NOW Legal and Education Fund, Illinois State Museum Society, Illinois Stewardship Alliance, Operation Snowball, Parent Place, Prevention First, The Springfield Project and WUIS Radio Information Service.

Community Shares raises funds to help support these organizations through coordinating and managing workplace giving campaigns, allowing employees of private business and city, state and federal government agencies to donate to organizations of their choice by payroll deduction giving. Members of Community Shares assist in fundraising efforts by participating in events such as Share-A-Meal, as well as making presentations at workplaces during campaign kickoff events.

We invite you to join us on Tuesday and help us make a difference. If you are a business owner, we invite you to consider establishing an employee giving program with Community Shares as manager.

For more information about Community Shares visit its Web site at www.csi-il.org; for more information about Share-A-Meal, visit www.share-a-meal.org.

Ann Ford is executive director of the Illinois Network of Centers for Independent Living, the statewide association to which all of Illinois’ 23 Centers for Independent Living belong. She has been an advocate for the civil rights and full inclusion of people with disabilities for more than 30 years.

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