Culinary students raise awareness for men’s health and wellness

Once a year, the senior class in The International Culinary School at The Art Institute of Atlanta showcases its craft to guests all while raising money for a good cause. Every year, the benefiting nonprofit is different and also chosen by the students.

“The senior class has to do a complete practicum before they graduate, and this component of giving back has become an important part of this curriculum,” said L. Monique Porche-Smith, culinary arts faculty.

Kicking off Men’s Health Awareness Month, the seniors hosted Generations of Gentlemen on June 1 at the Arts Institute of Atlanta to raise money for the Men’s Health and Wellness Center, a nonprofit that provides healthcare education, screening and support services for men over 40 and promotes lifestyle practices that lead to disease prevention, healthy living and improved quality of life. A second dinner will be hosted on June 8.

“Men’s health is rarely ever spoken about,” said Eric M. Seidel, chair of Men’s Health and Wellness Center. “Men also can turn a blind eye to their health, so we want to reach out to them and their families and provide the proper tools, advice and knowledge to keep them healthy and with their families for as long as possible.”

Cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes are the top three diseases that affect the male population.

The money raised from the dinners will support Men’s Health and Wellness Center’s educational and support programs for cardiovascular health, cancer and more. The organization also seeks volunteers to help further its cause. The community can support its programs by volunteering at various events or with office administration needs.

In honor of Father’s Day, Men’s Health and Wellness will host the eighth annual Run 4 Dad 5K on June 17 in Sandy Springs to raise money for prostate cancer.

The dinner, however, had a bigger purpose — especially for its participating students.

“Restaurants thrive because of the community they create. So this event is important for our students to learn about becoming embedded in their community and giving back once they get into the industry,” said Porche-Smith.

In other news: The Atlanta Community Food Bank received a $50,000 grant from the Morgan Stanley Foundation to fund its School Pantry Program, a child hunger initiative that helps to make sure low-income families have a readily accessible source of healthy and nutritious food to prepare at home. Employees from local branches presented the check and volunteered at the Food Bank as part of Morgan Stanley's "Feeding Kids Around the Clock" initiative, a full day of activities across the globe to help the fight against childhood hunger.

Who’s doing good?Each Tuesday, we write about charity events such as fun-runs, volunteer projects and other community gatherings that benefit a good cause. To suggest an event for us to cover, contact Devika Rao at


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