Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Belly Acres Owner Ben McLean Takes Steps to Feed Hungry Seniors

Posted By on Tue, Mar 24, 2015 at 2:38 PM

click to enlarge resized_ben_mclean.jpg

Step into Belly Acres, and you’ll spot something a bit unusual, even for freaky-deaky Midtown: a 38-year-old heterosexual male with bright green hair. What’s even more surprising is that the guy isn’t a customer or a waiter…he’s the owner.

“I like it, but my kids aren’t crazy about it,” admits Belly Acres’ Ben McLean. “They asked me not to get out of the car when I pick them up from school.”

Of course, nobody needs a reason to go green. To be honest, the troll doll look kind of suits him. But in McLean's case, it’s more than just a fashion statement. He’s raising money to help feed hungry seniors.

“When I was a kid,” recalls McLean, “my dad drove Meals on Wheels in the church van. I got to see how it would touch these families' lives, how appreciative they were.”

MIFA is helping people who really need it,” he adds, “and I always knew I wanted to be a part of that. It just gives them one less thing to worry about, you know?”

click to enlarge resized_ben_mclean_b.jpg

It's called FitBen, and here's how it works. During the month of March, McLean is wearing a Garmin Vivofit, which tracks his steps. He’s posting weekly totals and asking people to donate to MIFA based on those numbers.

For instance, you could pledge 1 cent for every 100 steps that McLean takes in March. If he ends up taking 312,440 steps, you would donate $31. (Click here to find out more and sign up.)

“It’s March for Meals,” says McLean, “and as a restaurant owner, I march around all day. At any given moment, I’m a waiter, a dishwasher, a cook, or a cashier. So I figured, why not use that as a way to raise awareness and help feed hungry seniors?”

During the first week of the challenge, McLean walked 117,000 steps. Then, in week two, he upped it to 216,000 steps. Although he doesn’t know how much money has been pledged to MIFA, he says his dream is to raise $50,000.

“You gotta shoot for the moon,” says McLean. “If we get to $50,000, then I’ll keep my hair green all year long.”

Want to celebrate with McLean? There’s a wrap party at Belly Acres on March 31st. He adds that his shoes and Vivofit were donated by Breakaway Running, and his hair was donated by Dabbles Hair Company.

So here’s my question. The hair is green…why not go all the way? Eyebrows?

“Yeah, I couldn’t do that,” answers McLean. “I had to draw the line somewhere, and I drew it at the eyebrows.”

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