Calhoun’s and the Copper Cellar Family of Restaurants launched “Making Strides For More Birthdays” in 2011 to raise money for the American Cancer Society and to fund breast cancer research. In its inaugural year, the program raised just over $6,000. This year, the popular restaurant chain raised $38,289.02 – an increase of $5,000 over last year’s program.
Through activities that included a fishing contest at Calhoun’s in Lenoir City, a “ZoombaThon” sponsored by Chesapeake’s, and a “Behemoth Burger Eating Contest” at Smoky Mountain Brewery, the restaurant chain involved its customers in the Making Strides For More Birthdays program. But Making Strides For More Birthdays is also a labor of love for the company’s 1,100 East Tennessee employees.
“We employ a large number of people, and most of them are female,” said Bart Fricks, Chief Operating Officer for Calhoun’s and the Copper Cellar Family of Restaurants. “Since a large number of our employees have been impacted by breast cancer, either personally or through an immediate family member, we wanted to do something as a company to help. Making Strides For More Birthdays was the program we came up with, and it has exceeded everyone’s expectations.
“We raised $6,000 our first year in 2011, and we thought that was great. To grow that number to nearly $40,000 in just four years is something none of us could have imagined.”
The Copper Cellar Family of Restaurants ̶ which includes Calhoun’s, Copper Cellar, Smoky Mountain Brewery, Chesapeake’s, and Cherokee Grill ̶ sell “Making Strides for More Birthdays” t-shirts, bracelets and Wall of Hope ribbons at all 17 East Tennessee locations leading up to the annual Breast Cancer Walk. Employees and customers wear the Making Strides For More Birthdays t-shirts in the Breast Cancer Walk in downtown Knoxville. Hundreds of Copper Cellar employees and business partners participated in the walk this year.
Fricks said, “About 230,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014, and the Making Strides for More Birthdays Program was initiated to raise awareness of this widespread disease and generate funds for breast cancer research and treatment. Because the five-year survival rate is 90 percent when identified early, we wanted to make this is an issue our employees and our customers recognize and think about regularly.”
For nearly 40 years, the Copper Cellar Family of Restaurants have been known as “the taste of Tennessee”. In May 2014, the Knoxville Chamber of Commerce awarded the Copper Cellar Family of Restaurants its prestigious Pinnacle Award for the positive impact the company has on East Tennessee through programs like Making Strides For More Birthdays.