Seven area restaurants will support women’s health organization Planned Parenthood on Tuesday, May 16, through the third annual Chow for Choice initiative. That day, each participating eatery will donate 10 percent of the day’s proceeds directly to the organization.
“It’s a great way to engage locally owned restaurants,” says Nikki Harris, director of philanthropy for Planned Parenthood in Western North Carolina. “It’s very generous, and it’s pretty wonderful when you have businesses that not only support Planned Parenthood, our mission and what we do, but they also kind of do it publicly, which is really very cool.”
This year’s participants are The Admiral, Bouchon, Copper Crown, Chiesa, The Hop Ice Cream Café, The Hop West, Plant and Smoky Park Supper Club. “We actually have more restaurants now than we ever have,” says Harris. “Some are new, some have supported us for a long time, and we’re always looking to expand our network of people that are engaging with our mission.”
Chiesa owner Melissa Willingham says she’s happy to have her business on board. “They are friends and neighbors of ours, and they do a lot for women’s health, and we support them wholeheartedly,” she says.
“It’s important to keep funding them so that they can keep doing what they do, which is really important to a whole lot of people — a lot more people than I’m sure the people who want to shut them down realize,” says The Hop owner Greg Garrison.
Money raised from the event will directly benefit patient services, which include family planning and cancer screenings among other offerings. “We provide compassionate care in a nonjudgmental environment. We are very lucky that in Western North Carolina we have a gamut of services,” says Harris. “We do STI [sexually transmitted infection] testing and diagnosis here. We are Western North Carolina’s only abortion provider, so that means that we serve 18 counties, and we have people that come from other states to access that service. We also provide transgender care, so we offer here hormone replacement therapy as well.”
For those who would like to further support Planned Parenthood’s mission, Harris says, “I really believe that one of the biggest ways that people in our community can become an advocate for Planned Parenthood is by becoming a patient. We’d be honored to be your health care provider, and we do accept private insurance. That being said, if you don’t have insurance we would still be honored to be your health care provider.”
Diners can drop in anytime during operating hours at participating locations. Reservations may be recommended at some restaurants. For details, visit chowforchoice.org.