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Annual RSVVP Day Increases Business on Franklin Street

RSVVP organizers expressed concerns that participation would decrease as a result of Sept. 11 fund-raisers.

Despite organizers' fears that participation would be lower because of national donation campaigns for victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, patrons still ate out on Franklin Street to support the Restaurants Sharing V (5) and V (5) Percent day.

Several restaurant managers reported busier days Tuesday and gave credit to the charity effort.

"Today was particularly good for Tuesday," said Shelvy Geber, a waitress at Linda's Bar and Grill. "I really think that (RSVVP) does have some effect."

Will Cramer, who ate at Franklin Street Pizza and Pasta for lunch Tuesday, expressed satisfaction in giving to charity without having to do anything except eat.

"It's just nice to know that something you do anyway will help," Cramer said.

Founded in 1989, RSVVP asks local restaurants to donate 10 percent of their profit for one day to help benefit the IFC Family Emergency Food Pantry and Community Kitchen, which served more than 2,000 individuals last year.

Last year's efforts in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro area raised more than $22,000 for the kitchen.

According to event organizers, this year's total donations will not be announced until Dec. 31.

Jason Hartman, manager of Top of the Hill, said he enjoyed participating in the program because it brings the community closer together.

"I think it's great," Hartman said. "I think it's a great cause. Walking up and down Franklin Street, you see a lot of the restaurants are advertising (the RSVVP sign). It's good to see a lot of businesses involved."

IFC Executive Director Chris Moran said the kitchen has been experiencing an increase in business because of the recent economic slowdown.

"Right now we have hard times in this area and the Triangle," Moran said. "A lot of people working in minimum wage jobs are not making the living wage."

Betty Longiotti, chairwoman of the RSVVP program for Carrboro and Chapel Hill, said she is grateful to those restaurants who pledged support this year, despite the decrease in involvement from 105 restaurants last year to 74 this year.

"This year we had 74 restaurants involved," Longiotti said. "I feel that with the sluggish economy, September 11 and stress from bioterrorist attacks, I think that is a very respectable turnout."

Moran also emphasized that although there are national concerns, people need to stay involved in their communities.

"We want Orange City citizens to pay attention to local economic and social problems," Moran said.

"When people are staying involved locally, they are really helping out on the national level."

The City Editor can be reached


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