ORLANDO, Fla., Jan. 22, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- According to Feeding America, the nation's leading domestic hunger-relief charity, hunger is a reality for one in six people in the United States. To bring awareness to the issue and help find solutions, Olive Garden is asking students "How would you help end hunger in your community?" as part of the 17th-Annual Pasta Tales national essay writing contest.
Now through Friday, March 22, students in first through 12th-grade in the United States and Canada (excluding Quebec) are invited to submit an essay of 50 to 250 words with their ideas for ending hunger in their local communities.
The grand-prize winner of the contest will receive a three-day family trip to New York City that includes dinner at the Olive Garden in Times Square and a $2,500 savings bond. In addition, Olive Garden will provide a $5,000 grant to bring the winner's essay to life by supporting hunger initiatives in his or her local community. The winners in each of the 12 grade categories will be awarded a $500 savings bond and a family dinner at their local Olive Garden restaurant.This year's Pasta Tales question reflects a long-term commitment to helping fight the battle against hunger in North America by Olive Garden and its parent company, Darden Restaurants. Olive Garden restaurants participate in the Darden Harvest program, which over the last nine years has donated more than 60 million pounds of food to local community food banks across the country, more than 25 million pounds of it from Olive Garden alone. At the end of each day, every Darden restaurant freezes and safely stores surplus food items like fresh fish and other meats that can be used in soups, stews or on a plate with other donated items, for local food banks to pick up and deliver to those in need. Pasta Tales entry forms and complete rules are available on Olive Garden's website at http://www.olivegarden.com/About-Us/News-and-Media/Pasta-Tales/. All entries must include the writer's first and last name, complete address, phone number with area code, grade, date of birth including year and a statement that the work is his or her own. Entries must be postmarked by March 22, 2013 and sent to Pasta Tales, PMB 2000, 6278 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33308-1916. Submissions will be judged based on creativity, adherence to theme, organization, grammar, punctuation and spelling by the Quill and Scroll Society of the College of Journalism and Communications at the University of Iowa, with winners selected by Olive Garden. Olive Garden's Pasta Tales essay contest provides students in local communities an outlet to creatively express the influences, experiences and stories that have shaped their lives. For more information about Olive Garden's Pasta Tales, contact Lauren Simo or Catie Jackson at (954) 776-1999 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. EST. Olive Garden is the leading restaurant in the Italian dining segment with more than 800 restaurants, more than 90,000 employees and more than $3.5 billion in annual sales. Olive Garden is a member of the Darden family of restaurants (NYSE: DRI), the world's largest full-service restaurant operating company. For more information, visit Olive Garden's website at OliveGarden.com. SOURCE Olive Garden