Who doesn’t enjoy a good meal? It’s even better when it’s for a worthwhile cause. To paraphrase an old saying – “The way to a man’s heart (in this case a donor’s heart and credit card) is through their stomach.” This is what a number of our walkers have learned as they’ve planned their restaurant fundraisers.
Pasta for Parkinson’s
When Peggy Poole, Team Captain of Team Moon ‘n Stars was not able to attend the Unity Walk in 2013, she decided “to bring the Walk home” to Youngstown, Ohio. She wanted a fundraiser that was fun, easy and would bring people together to support Parkinson’s research. Pasta for Parkinson’s was set in motion. Station Square’s owner was willing to split the ticket price of $15 with her. Half covered the cost of the food and servers, and the other half went to the Unity Walk. Her goal to sell 500 tickets was achieved by identifying 20 people who committed to selling 25 tickets each. The group of supporters that normally would have traveled to NY with Peggy for the Unity Walk became her event committee. Corporate sponsors were solicited. Committee members arranged for a write up in the local paper and a local TV station interviewed Peggy at the restaurant on the day of the event.
The day of the dinner, Peggy met many people who were there because they or a loved one were afflicted with Parkinson’s disease. Peggy views her biggest success as the hope, support and encouragement that came from this group’s reaching out to one another. Even though Peggy was able to travel to NY for the Walk in 2014, she decided to keep a good thing going and organized the Second Pasta for Parkinson’s in Youngstown.
Pasta for Parkinson’s in Vermont
One good deed leads to another. Robin Szawerda’s sister, Doreen Erasmus lives with Parkinson’s disease and is a longstanding participant in the Unity Walk. Robin wanted to create a fundraiser to support her sister’s team but wasn’t sure what to do. In looking at the CHAMP in Action page on PUW’s website, she noticed the Pasta for Parkinson’s fundraiser that a walker had created in Ohio. Robin lives in Springfield, Vermont and happens to own 56 Main Street, a family restaurant in town. A fundraiser in a restaurant was right up her power alley. Pasta for Parkinson’s had spread to Vermont!
With donations from many of her vendors, most of the food was donated so there were very few expenses associated with the event. Their employees donated their time. The fundraiser became a family reunion and an opportunity to come together in support of Robin’s sister, Doreen. Robin promoted the event on Facebook, and a press release was distributed to local newspapers and radio stations, resulting in multiple write ups about the event in the local media. The fundraiser was a huge success! Not only did it help Team Deen’s Day Trippers to raise funds for the Unity Walk, it also raised awareness of Parkinson’s disease and created good will throughout the community.
Not all restaurant fundraisers need to be started from scratch. Some just require a phone call and getting out your calendar. Check out these fundraisers offered by national chain restaurants that are walkers have participated in.
Applebee’s Dining to Donate Program
Rebecca Gale walks in memory of her Grandpa Jules. She decided to participate in Applebee’s Dining to Donate program. It was as easy as “pick a date.” Applebee’s sent her flyers that she distributed to friends and family. They turned the flyers in on the day of the event and Applebee’s donated 10% of their purchase to the Unity Walk.
As a returning participant to the Unity Walk, Rebecca wanted to expand her team’s donor base and at the same time, increase awareness of Parkinson’s disease. Rebecca posted her fundraiser on her town’s website which allowed her to reach out to her local community and get people involved that she wouldn’t have been able to reach otherwise. One thing Rebecca has learned from her years of raising funds for Parkinson’s research is that “you never know who you’re going to touch with your story!”
Applebee’s Flapjack Fundraiser
Applebee’s also offers a Flapjack Fundraiser at Applebee’s restaurants on weekend mornings when the restaurant is normally closed. This fundraiser appealed to Laura Ciampa because it was so straight forward. Applebee’s provided the food and chefs. Laura provided volunteers to seat guests, clean tables, and serve food. Her family and friends gladly volunteered to work the event. She posted the event in local newspapers and posted flyers in her community. Tickets were sold in advance. The event was so successful that their team held their Second Annual Flapjack Fundraiser at Applebee’s this past spring. They added a silent auction and jewelry party to the event, which resulted in even more funds being raised for research.
Laura’s father was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease seven years ago. After feeling helpless in response to seeing his health decline, she decided to participate in the Unity Walk. Creating this annual fundraiser is her way of stepping up her fundraising and fighting back against Parkinson’s disease.
Chili’s Give Back Nights
You don’t have to work at Chili’s to participate in their Give Back Nights but it doesn’t hurt. When Kari Patchak decided that she wanted to create a fundraiser in honor of her grandfather, who had been recently diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, Chili’s was an obvious place for her to hold a fundraiser. Its structure is very similar to Applebee’s Dining to Donate program. The restaurant was packed on the night of Kari’s fundraiser and there was an hour wait to sit in her section so she could wait on you. Kari donated her tips in addition to Chili’s making their donation. What a great way to raise funds!
Check with other local and national chain restaurants in your community to learn what fundraising opportunities are available.
These fundraisers demonstrate the wide range of options that exist when planning a restaurant based fundraiser. Mangia and good luck with your fundraising!