ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill., Dec. 30, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Restaurant.com today announced its holiday giving program, Feed It Forward, helped people celebrate the gift of giving in record numbers. Participants gave away more than $22 million in Restaurant.com Gift Cards this year and more than $53 million in total giveaways since the program was founded four years ago.
This year more than 120,000 individual givers sent $10 Restaurant.com eGift Cards to family, friends, co-workers, neighbors or anyone who deserved a kind gesture. The 2.3 million gifts given by the Restaurant.com community was more than a 30 percent increase over last year.
"We're gratified to see how people reached out in record numbers and captured the gift of giving," said Restaurant.com President Christopher Krohn. "When Cary Chessick created Feed It Forward in 2008, it was in response to the tough economic times, and the response has continued to be truly unbelievable each year of the program."
Feed It Forward givers and recipients shared their stories of gratitude.
"I love Feed it Forward. I gave gift cards to all of my co-workers at a time when we were all frazzled from long hours at work and trying to keep up with family, too," said Jean Georgett of Kinnelon, N.J. "It put a smile on everyone's face and got them in the holiday mood."
Sammi Richardson of New York, N.Y. sent a Feed It Forward gift card to her out-of-work mother. "She was very excited at the act of kindness and was very grateful to receive the gift."
"When I received my gift card, I was shocked," said Kandi Stehlik of Memphis, Tenn. "It made me feel so special knowing someone thought enough of me to send a surprise gift. It brightened my day."
The gift of giving can make a world of difference, as it did for Michele Christie of Rochester, N.Y. "I was thankful for the surprise gift card," she said. "Life gets going too fast. It was a nice way to slow down and take my son on a date to remember what's really important in life – people. Dinners out give us a chance to talk and to listen, without TV, video games and other distractions."
Feed It Forward partnered with three charitable organizations this year. The American Lung Association, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and Make-A-Wish Foundation were able to thank donors and volunteers through Feed It Forward gifts.
Since the program was started in 2008, more than 400,000 individuals have given through Feed It Forward. More than one million eGift Cards have been sent back to the Restaurant.com community as random acts of kindness, and almost 14 million diners have had the opportunity to share a dining experience with family or friends because of Feed It Forward gifts.
Restaurant.com helps deepen relationships and create lasting memories one dining experience at a time. The company offers savings at more than 18,000 restaurants nationwide with more than 45,000 daily gift certificate options. Restaurant.com brings family and friends together to relax, converse and enjoy dining out. Restaurant.com customers have saved more than $500 million since the Arlington Heights, Ill.-based company was founded in 1999.