Restaurants band together to help the hungry


At Park Place restaurant in Cupertino, happy hour is a big draw, but the dining room isn't the main attraction. That's why managers are trying something new this weekend.

"It's a win-win situation," says Kate Holt from Park Place.

Park Place will be the first restaurant to host the "Taste of Compassion." For $24, diners will get a two-course meal and the non-profit West Valley Community Services will get half of the proceeds.

"That will help fund our homeless and hunger prevention services. It's a nice way to match providing food to the community by people coming out to get food themselves," says Naomi Nakano-Masumoto from the West Valley Community Services.

The restaurant expects the partnership will bring little financial pay off at first.

"It's a way to do a good deed and get exposure that's less expensive than your traditional advertising," says Holt.

The Taste of Compassion was a year in the making. Organizers already have 10 restaurants from all over the South Bay lined up to participate.

The restaurants host for just two days a month then rotate from Cupertino, to Los Gatos, Saratoga, and San Jose. Thousands are counting on this campaign for their own survival.

"If it wasn't for West Valley Community Center, I'd still be out on the street," says Brian Merriman, an aid recipient.

West Valley needs to raise $150,000 to save two programs: a mobile shelter for men, and a food pantry for West San Jose families.

"It will impact me, but I'm looking at the next person whose life has been turned around that needs that helping hand," says Maurice Palmer, an aid recipient.

That help is coming one meal at a time.

To take part in this promotion, you have to register through the West Valley Community Services website.

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