When you think about a date night, what typically comes to mind is an overpriced candle-lit dinner or inhaling too much popcorn at the movie theater with your significant other. But what if you and your partner could have a date night where you both get to have a fun experience, make a positive impact in your community, and even get to know other couples in the process?
Kristen Manieri, voted Best Local Blogger in Orlando Magazine’s Best of Orlando, has made it her mission to do just that. Manieri founded the Orlando Date Night Guide blog back in 2007 in order to share fun and romantic date night ideas in Central Florida with local couples. From this stemmed “Do Good Date Nights,” a non-profit event series six times per year that connects couples with local non-profit organizations through a fun and connective volunteer project.
Recently, 40 couples gathered together at FCE’s headquarters in Longwood to experience a date night like no other. Working in fun and competitive assembly lines, all 80 attendees rolled up their sleeves and threw on hairnets to assemble our Red Lentil Jambalaya meal. This week, these life-saving meals will be shipped to families in Haiti.
“Friday’s event was our fourth Do Good Date Night collaboration with Feeding Children Everywhere,” Manieri says. “And as usual, couples not only made a difference in the issue of hunger but had a great time doing it.”
After working up an appetite, the couples were invited to relax with a catered barbecue dinner and to participate in a fun raffle benefiting FCE.
FCE was the first organization that Manieri chose to partner with for Do Good Date Nights after she had witnessed a Hunger Project at her daughter’s school.
“I chose to reach out to FCE because when they worked with the kids at my daughter’s school, it was such a well-oiled machine,” shared Manieri. “The volunteers were so upbeat, and the experience had a hint of a competitive vibe which made it that much more exciting. With a fun experience like this, I hoped that this would inspire couples to volunteer in the community more often.”
Manieri says that she loves hosting these date nights because it gives couples the opportunity to meet other like-minded couples and individuals, all while giving them a hands-on way to give back to the community. “These couples get to do something tangible,” she said. “It’s a really great experience for everyone, and it feels good.”
Together, the couples packaged 8,060 meals total and raised over $500 in the raffle that they held, which they donated to Feeding Children Everywhere in its entirety.