If you eat out on Tuesday, a portion of the proceeds from your meal may be donated to support hunger-relief programs.
111 restaurants have pledged to participate in RSVVP Day and to give 10 percent of their total gross receipts to the Inter-Faith Council for Social Service to support their FoodFirst progams — the community kitchen and the food pantry.
RSVVP stands for Restaurants Sharing 10 Percent, and uses Roman numeral Vs to add to 10. All of the restaurants participating sign a pledge saying they will give 10 percent back to the IFC.
“Well, it was kind of a convoluted beginning,” said Irene Briggaman, long-time volunteer in the Chapel Hill community who helped start RSVVP Day in 1989.
She said RSVVP Day came from the fact that waiters in Baltimore would set aside some of their tips to help feed customers that came into the restaurants who were unable to pay. If the restaurant owners could also set aside some of their profits, the money would be able to impact more people who needed the assistance.
That is what RSVVP Day aims to do. With the annual program reaching its 26th year, restaurants in the area have donated nearly half a million dollars to the IFC, according to Briggaman.
The event is held annually on the second Tuesday of November. Elizabeth Garfunkel, executive assistant for the IFC, said Tuesday nights are usually slow business nights for restaurants, so the date works well for both the restaurants and the IFC.
“It’s a win-win situation relationship,” said Garfunkel.
Restaurants from Carrboro to Raleigh are participating this year, including many of the restaurants on Franklin Street. Jeff Wardwell, a manager at Top of the Hill Restaurant and Brewery, said there is a little more business than usual because of the flyers and the awareness of the event.
For participating restaurants, it’s more than just making money, though restaurants do see a small increase in business on RSVVP Day.
“We really enjoy doing stuff for the community. Anything we can do to get our name out to support a good cause, we love to take advantage of,” said David Peretin, manager at Al’s Burger Shack.
Melissa Peng, owner of Ye Olde Waffle Shoppe, said it was her parents, the founding owners of the restaurant, who felt that RSVVP Day was going to help an incredible cause. Ye Olde Waffle Shoppe has participated in the event every year since 1991.
“I definitely think you feel the community support for sure,” Peng said. “There’s an awareness in town.”
Briggaman said Chapel Hill usually does better than Raleigh and Durham combined on RSVVP Day.
“I feel that the success is because of the students and faculty,” Briggaman said. “They’re our secret weapon.”