Smithfield’s Chicken ‘N Bar-B-Q is celebrating the success of the fundraising chapter of the St. Baldrick's Foundation, known as “The Bald Entrepreneurs”—a group of small business owners and community leaders based in Wake Forest, North Carolina.
“The Factory” event location, which annually hosts willing “shavees” and fundraisers who are willing to go bald in support of the nonprofit foundation cited as being the “world’s largest private funder of childhood cancer research grants”, takes place at a former northern Wake County commercial manufacturing property that has been renovated to house restaurants, a YMCA location, retail, and local recreational facilities.
The restaurant-community partnership started small several years ago with Smithfield’s Chicken ‘N Bar-B-Q providing donated signature menu items (Eastern North Carolina barbecue, fried chicken, hush puppies, sides, and sweet tea) for the after party.
It has since grown to feature fundraising boxes created by the restaurant brand that allow “The Bald Entrepreneurs” to feed hungry guests while continuing their fundraising efforts throughout the day of shaving.
Fundraising support didn’t end this year with simply feeding fundraisers, either. The support continued across geographic boundaries when @SCNBNC took to Twitter to continue support for the cause.
Twitter followers were asked to tweet “#BBQbeatscancer,” with the restaurant brand promising to donate $1 for every tweet of support posted.
Almost a week after the first tweet of support was posted, Smithfield’s Chicken ‘N Bar-B-Q marketing director Richard Averitte says he was still counting tweets in response.
Even prior to #BBQbeatscancer’s final total of tweets could be calculated, The Factory St. Baldrick’s group estimated participation and fundraising in excess of 335 shavees and more than $123,000 in fundraising, says Carol R. Wessler, accounting director for Charleston Management Corp., who volunteered to help organize the fundraising group’s efforts.
“We had a great turnout and the day was filled with anticipation, excitement, and sometimes tears,” she says.
“When we have the opportunity to partner with community groups that excel at accomplishing their charitable goals, we are proud to be able to continue that support as these groups grow and flourish,” Averitte says. “As an individual brand, we’d be hard-pressed to engage the kind of support and dedication that groups like this are able to cultivate in their own backyards, which are in the communities we’re grateful to serve with our locations.”