From left, Royal Oak National Coney Island General Manager Keven Finley, National Coney Island Marketing Director Devin Burns and Mary Samsky, of No Kid Hungry, stand with the check for  No Kid Hungry at  the Royal Oak  restaurant Nov. 16.

From left, Royal Oak National Coney Island General Manager Keven Finley, National Coney Island Marketing Director Devin Burns and Mary Samsky, of No Kid Hungry, stand with the check for No Kid Hungry at the Royal Oak restaurant Nov. 16.

Photo by Sarah Wojcik


National Coney Island customers raise $31,000 to combat hunger

By: Sarah Wojcik | Royal Oak Review | Published November 27, 2018

ROYAL OAK — Customers at the 18 National Coney Island locations in southeast Michigan raised $31,642.76 in a month in partnership with the Dine Out for No Kid Hungry campaign.

Of that sum, which will provide more than 310,000 meals to children, customers at the Royal Oak location raised approximately $11,000 — roughly a third.

No Kid Hungry, a national nonprofit organization, works with restaurants to connect vulnerable children with meals.

Mary Samsky, of No Kid Hungry, said 1 in 6 children in the country struggles with hunger; in Detroit, the number is 1 in 5. In the 10-year existence of Dine Out for No Kid Hungry, she said, it has provided 775 million meals to children.

“If restaurants can’t end child hunger, who can? So we partner with restaurants to connect children with meals, and every dollar raised connects 10 children with meals,” she said.

Devin Burns, marketing director for National Coney Island, said she discovered No Kid Hungry at a marketing conference in Chicago two years ago, and for the last two years, National Coney Island rolled out the Dine Out for No Kid Hungry campaign in the fall.

“They were doing this team-building activity, and it was super fun. Right there, I just felt this synergy between our restaurant and their organization,” Burns said. “I chose fall because … kids are going back to school, and it’s so hard for kids to learn and concentrate and focus when they don’t have the proper nutrition.”

Last year, National Coney Island customers raised more than $68,000 for the campaign in three months. Essentially, customers donate $5 and receive a $5 gift card.

“Our customers overwhelmed us,” Burns said. “What was really cool about it was we saw customers donating the $5 comp card to other customers and just paying it forward.”

She added that she intends to participate in the campaign indefinitely.

“I don’t see it ever leaving,” she said. “I’m super proud of this store — the management, team leadership and just the community. It’s a very giving community.”

For more information about No Kid Hungry, visit nokidhungry.org.