Mayor Dave Cieslewicz announced several restaurants in the City of Madison will participate in a nationwide event contributing to Hurricane Katrina and Rita relief funds at a press conference Tuesday.

Cieslewicz proclaimed Oct. 5 as "Dine for America Day" in Madison, where over 16,000 restaurants nationwide will donate a portion of all of their proceeds to the American Red Cross for Hurricane Katrina and Rita relief.

"We're asking people to dine in one of our fine Madison restaurants," Cieslewicz said. "When they do, the proceeds will go to hurricane relief."

Edward Lump, president and chief executive officer of the Wisconsin Restaurant Association, said over 450 restaurants throughout Wisconsin — and 47 in Madison — are participating in the fundraising effort.

Don Morello, owner of the Cousins Subs franchise in Madison, said dining at a participating restaurant is not the only way for citizens to get involved.

"What's really great about this effort is that not only do a portion of the restaurant's proceeds go to hurricane relief, but patrons will also be able to contribute a sum of money on top of that if they wish," Morello said. "For example, not only are we donating 10 percent of our proceeds, but we also will have envelopes at our entrances for anyone who wishes to donate."

According to the Dine for America website, Madison restaurants will donate anywhere from 5 to 100 percent of proceeds on Oct. 5 to Dine for America.

Restaurants on or near the University of Wisconsin campus participating in the fundraising event include the Nitty Gritty, Noodles & Co., Great Dane Pub & Brewing Co., Cousins Subs and Taco John's.

Lump said the event is an effortless way for citizens to make a donation to hurricane relief.

"Dine for America Day is an opportunity for people to have fun and dine out for a worthy cause," Lump said. "All citizens have to do is have a nice meal out with family or friends or just a quick meal at a fast-food restaurant to make a difference."

The Dine for America effort began in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The 2001 event raised more than $20 million to help people affected by the attacks, according to a WRA release.

Lump said restaurant employees and workers wish to not only contribute to relief because it is the right thing to do, but because the hurricane disaster hits close to home.

"The restaurant industry has always tried to get involved in efforts like this," Lump said. "There were over 19,000 restaurant jobs lost as a result of the hurricanes. There were also a huge number of restaurants destroyed."

Cieslewicz said he would do his best to participate in the event.

"I'm grateful to the restaurant association for doing this," Cieslewicz said. "I'll have a Cousins sub for lunch and make some rounds at dinner. I want citizens to remember when you raise your fork, you're forking over hurricane relief."