Rowan Helping Ministries receives grant from Darden Restaurants

SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) - Rowan Helping Ministries, Rowan County's Cooperative Ministry announced it has received a $2,000 grant as part of the Restaurant Community Grants program from the Darden Restaurants Foundation, Inc., the charitable arm of Darden Restaurants.

Rowan Helping Ministries operates a homeless shelter, soup kitchen, crisis assistance office, food pantry, and clothing center.

The grants program, now in its third year, empowers each restaurant in the Darden family of brands to help award a $1,000 grant to support local community programs.

This year's donation will enable Rowan Helping Ministries to meet the weekend soup kitchen needs, supporting efforts in feeding 150 to180 individuals each day.  "It's really great to be able to contribute to such a great cause and to know the money will go to work in our own community" stated Russ Garland, General Manager of Olive Garden.

Darden's Red Lobster, Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Bahama Breeze, Seasons 52, The Capital Grille, Eddie V's and Yard House brands participated in the program.

Many restaurants and brands worked together to award one nonprofit organization with a larger grant and make a greater impact in their community.  Nonprofits receiving grants support one of Darden's three key focus areas: education, preservation of natural resources and hunger relief.

 "It is a privilege to be part of such a generous community,  where individuals and many businesses, such as Darden Foundation continue to step forward and assist us in caring for those in need in our community," states Kyna Grubb, Executive Director of Rowan Helping Ministries.

"We strive to make a positive impact in all the communities our restaurants serve," said Gene Lee, Darden's president and chief operating officer. "Our employees are incredibly passionate about getting directly involved in their local communities, and our Restaurant Community Grants program enables each of our restaurant teams to make a difference right in their own backyard."

A key component of Rowan Helping Ministries' mission is to deliver help through cooperative community action. The Darden Foundation and restaurants help deliver this mission.  In addition to this grant, the Salisbury Olive Garden and Longhorn Steakhouse are part of the Second Helping Program, donating food to Rowan Helping Ministries weekly.  "Together we are caring for our neighbors in crisis.  Rowan Helping Ministries is a great organization that helps families in our own neighborhood. To be able to contribute to that endeavor is truly an honor," stated Chris Foote, Managing Partner of Longhorn Steakhouse.

For more information about the Darden Foundation, please visit For additional information on Rowan Helping Ministries please visit

Rowan Helping Ministries
Rowan Helping Ministries gives hope and help to families who are on the verge of homelessness and struggling with the current economic crisis.  Many people are seeking services for the first time. 

In response to the changing needs in the community, Rowan Helping Ministries is continuously improving and enhancing programs to meet the needs of Rowan County residents and help people move forward to self-sufficiency.

About Darden Restaurants
Darden Restaurants, Inc., (NYSE: DRI), owns and operates more than 2,100 restaurants that generate over $8.5 billion in annual sales.  Headquartered in Orlando, Fla., and employing more than 200,000 people, Darden is recognized for a culture that rewards caring for and responding to people.  In 2014, Darden was named to the FORTUNE "100 Best Companies to Work For" list for the fourth year in a row.  Our restaurant brands – Red Lobster, Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Bahama Breeze, Seasons 52, The Capital Grille, Eddie V's and Yard House – reflect the rich diversity of those who dine with us.  Our brands are built on deep insights into what our guests want.  For more information, please visit

The Darden Foundation
The Darden Restaurants, Inc. Foundation is the charitable arm of Darden Restaurants, Inc. The Darden Foundation's mission is to maintain a spirit of service and community engagement as defining characteristics of Darden's family of restaurants – Red Lobster, Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Bahama Breeze, Seasons 52, The Capital Grille, Eddie V's and Yard House. Since 1995, the Darden Foundation has awarded more than $71 million in grants to leading nonprofit organizations that align with its mission and community priorities: Recipe for Success®, Preservation of Natural Resources and Good Neighbor grants. Through the Darden Harvest program, Darden Restaurants has also donated more than 66 million pounds of food to hunger relief agencies across the U.S. and Canada. In 2011, the Darden Foundation introduced the Restaurant Community Grants program that is dedicated to supporting local nonprofit organizations in the hundreds of communities where we live and serve. For more information, please visit