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Tomato Cafe to Compete for National Philanthropy Award

Albuquerque, NM  – The New Mexico Restaurant Association today announced that one of their member restaurants is in the running for the national Restaurant Neighbor Award, a program by the National Restaurant Association that recognizes outstanding community service, to be presented in Washington, D.C., this September. The winner is: Tomato Café in Albuquerque.  The prestigious Restaurant Neighbor Award program is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.

“We are honored that Tomato Café is being considered for this prestigious award. They have made significant contributions to the community through their food donation program with Desert Harvest Food Rescue. Members like the Tomato Café exemplify the giving nature of restaurateurs who are active supporters of their communities,” said New Mexico Restaurant Association CEO Carol Wight.

“Now in its 10th year, our Restaurant Neighbor Award program allows us to recognize and highlight the philanthropy that is so abundant in our industry,” said National Restaurant Association President and CEO Dawn Sweeney. “Restaurants are the cornerstone of local communities across the nation, supporting local and national initiatives, or creating their own programs to make a difference in issues about which they are passionate. Many restaurants also involve both guests and employees in their efforts to inspire a true sense of community. ”

Tomato Café was selected because of their work with Desert Harvest Food Rescue Program. They donate all of their leftover food to the program every day, fifty-two weeks a year. Since 2002, they have donated over 60,000 pounds of food to the program, which provides food to two homeless shelters in Albuquerque.

The Restaurant Neighbor Award honors charitable contributions in four categories (small business, mid-size business, national chain, and Cornerstone Humanitarian).  The New Mexico winner will compete with winners from other states and be eligible for the national award. One national winner in each category will be announced at the National Restaurant Association’s Public Affairs Conference in Washington, D.C., held September 23-24, 2008.  The national winners will each receive a $5,000 award to continue their community programs, and a trip to the nation’s capital for the award ceremony.

The National Restaurant Association and founding partner American Express developed the Restaurant Neighbor Award to recognize outstanding community programs across the country and to inspire other restaurant operators and owners to do what they can in their communities.

A profile of the national  winners’ community service efforts are available on the National Restaurant Association’s Web site.

The New Mexico Restaurant Association’s mission is to empower the food and beverage industry by promoting and protecting common values and interests. It has more than 1,000 members in 111 cities all over New Mexico, who join together for meetings, seminars and the hospitality industry awards to honor the industry’s top achievers. It has actively represented and promoted the food service industry in New Mexico since 1946.