Customers walk into Dream Dinners empty handed and walk out with weeks full of nutritious meals for their families. Now the company is providing more than help in the kitchen-but assistance in the job world as well.

On October 10 the Multnomah location of the national franchise, as well as others around the area, will dedicate an evening to raise money for Dress for Success, a non-profit organization that improves the lives of women in need by providing professional clothing, employment programs and ongoing support to help them be successful in the work force.

'We couldn't be more delighted to have this opportunity to give back to this phenomenal organization that serves our community,' said Beth Gritzmacher co-owner of the franchise on Barbur Boulevard.

The Southwest Dream Dinners store has helped raise more than $35,000 for local schools and organizations since opening its doors in 2004.

At its October event, Dream Dinners will raise funds and bring attention to Dress for Success by hosting an evening of wine tasting, appetizers and meal preparation. Multnomah Village wine expert Jill Crecraft of Sip d' Vine will serve wine while Dream Dinners staff will offer appetizers as participants prepare and take home a family-sized chicken marabella dinner.

Preparing and taking home meals is what the service is all about. Dream Dinners lets busy people prepare healthy meals ahead of time. Customers preview a monthly menu online at and select 12 dinners from a menu featuring meals like herb-crusted flank steak, meatball calzones and citrus ginger salmon. Then they register to attend a meal assembly session at a Dream Dinners location. At the store, customers rotate among refrigerated recipe stations, scooping freshly cut and prepped ingredients into the provided baking pans or zip-top freezer bags. They take the uncooked entrees home and place them in the freezer until they are ready to bake them. The whole process takes two hours and costs about $200 for 12 meals with four to six servings each.

The concept takes away the shopping, preparing and cleaning up necessary when cooking at home, but still lets customers make homemade, nutritious meals in a cozy, friendly environment.

'We want people to come in and feel comfortable-we want them to feel like they are in their own kitchen,' Gritzmacher said.

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