A Full House at Claude & Annie’s Fights Hunger

October 25, 2016 | 12:51 pm | Written by

It’s 8:00 P.M. on a Saturday night in Fishers, Indiana, and Claude & Annie’s Food & Spirits’ side room is full of 40 to 50 people all ready to play some free Texas Hold ‘Em Poker.

Claude & Annie'sEach week, five to six tables of people compete to win a cash prize from Bill Smythe’s Claude & Annie’s. To offer a leg up on the competition, Claude & Annie’s posts special instructions on Facebook on what to bring or what to wear in order to get a $5,000 chip to start the night. Players already start the night with a $10,000 chip and can get another $10,000 chip for arriving early, so by following that week’s special instructions (like wearing a certain hat for example), players are able to start the night with $25,000. Not too bad for a free game!

The winner of the week’s poker game then gets to decide what the special instructions for the next week will be. That’s how, through a woman’s question and a man’s compassion, that Atlantic Relocation Systems of Indianapolis, an agent of Atlas Van Lines, and Claude & Annie’s were able to donate 629lbs of food to St. Vincent dePaul in Indianapolis.

Jay Strong of Atlantic Relocation Systems tells the story like this:AtlanticRelocationSystems_logo

Jay moved to Indianapolis seven and a half years ago and has been going to Claude & Annie’s for four years now. He loves to play poker and has been attending as many of the free poker nights at the restaurant as he can.

After one particular poker game, the woman who won asked if it’d be okay if the next week’s poker game’s special instructions be for everyone to bring in a canned good. Her church was running a food drive and she wanted to have the canned good donations benefit her church. Everyone agreed that it was a good idea and Jay knew that he could take that idea even further.

Through his work at Atlantic Relocation Systems, Jay has been able to show and further his passion for helping the hungry. As a father of four kids, he is especially motivated by the number of hungry children in his community.

“One in 5 children go to bed hungry in Indiana and that breaks my heart,” Jay says of his motivation to suggest an idea to the poker players at Claude & Annie’s.

Jay brought up his company’s year-round work with Move For Hunger to the poker players at Claude & Annie’s and suggested that they take one Saturday out of the month and make it a designated donation day. He brought in literature he got from Move For Hunger to prove that he “was telling the truth” and Bill Smythe and everyone at Claude & Annie’s agreed that it was a great idea.

And that is the story of how the last Saturday of every month‘s poker game started offering a $5,000 chip to all of those who bring in a canned good.

St. Vincent dePaul IndySince that point, the poker players at Claude & Annie’s have been busy making donations. Jay says that he’s been collecting from 45 to 50lbs of food each week that they collect food, which isn’t always the last week anymore.

As the winner of the poker game chooses the next week’s special instructions, some players have taken to suggesting extra weeks of canned food donations so that Claude & Annie’s has been seeing consecutive weeks of donations to St. Vincent dePaul. Their recent donation of 629lbs was made up of about four to five months of donations, Jay says, plus a little more.

Jay confessed that he sometimes runs out to Wal-Mart to buy some more canned goods to add to the donation boxes. While the poker players’ may be at least partially motivated to donate by the extra $5,000 chip that they can start the game with, Jay is motivated by his passion and his drive to push himself further in his fight against hunger.

Jay’s compassion keeps pushing him to work harder and he hopes to be able to continue these donation days for the long-run to help the hungry in his community.

For, as he says, “Right now it’s at 1 in 5 children, let’s make it 1 in 10.”

Want to a food drive at your local poker game or community gathering? Find out what you can do to help!

About Move For Hunger

More than 41 million Americans, including 1 in 6 children, struggle with food insecurity each day. Hunger exists in every state, county, and congressional district in the United States.

Move For Hunger has collected nearly 9 million pounds of food thanks, in large part, to ordinary people like you who recognized the urgency of the problem and decided to take action. We need your support to continue providing meals for our neighbors in need.

We have delivered more than


of food to food banks across United States & Canada.

These food donations account for more than


for people in need.