(by Carly Harrington, Knoxville News Sentinel) When Copper Cellar Restaurants launched its own Making Strides For More Birthdays program in 2011, the company raised just over $6,000 for breast cancer research and local support services. This year, the restaurant chain, which includes Calhoun’s, Copper Cellar, Smoky Mountain Brewery, Chesapeake’s and Cherokee Grill, is aiming for more than eight times that amount, setting a $50,000 goal that it expects to exceed.
“Most of us have someone we know who has been or who could be impacted by this disease. When you couple that with the fact that more than 50 percent of our employees are female, I can’t think of something better that we need to be involved with,” said Chief Operating Officer Bart Fricks, who serves on the local American Cancer Society board. “I think we’ve only scratched the surface. We’ve learned so much since we started. I can see it getting bigger and bigger.”
Copper Cellar Restaurants, which has 1,100 employees, is a flagship sponsor of the nonprofit’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer event, along with Farm Bureau Insurance of Tennessee and Tennova Healthcare. There are a dozen other event sponsors as well as those that have provided in-kind donations.
Getting the business community engaged is vital to successfully moving forward with the organization’s mission, said Amy Fields, community events specialist for the local chapter of the American Cancer Society.
“Of course the fundraising is important, but they are very in tune with sharing the services we offer locally and just awareness in general. It’s a win-win for all of us,” Fields said. “Because of them, we’re able to do more toward our mission.”
The Making Strides event is only in its fourth year in Knoxville, and as more businesses become aware of it, Fields said she believes they will want to be a part of letting the community know they care and raise awareness for the disease.
In addition to gathering teams for its walk on Saturday, each business is in charge of doing what works for them, she said. At Copper Cellar Restaurants, various employee and community driven events — from a behemoth burger eating contest and bass fishing event to a comedy night and Zumba class — are being held in conjunction with the sale of related merchandise.
Read the entire Knoxville News Sentinel story here.