Today restaurants around the Triangle will donate ten percent of their profits to support the Inter-Faith Council for Social Service’s mission to feed the area’s hungry — and these efforts are all thanks to Irene Briggaman.
The RSVVP fundraiser is in its 25th year, and Briggaman said she’s glad she founded the event a quarter of a century ago with the help of a food bank in Raleigh.
“People in Chapel Hill/Carrboro do not have to go to bed hungry because there are resources to help them,” said John Dorward, the council’s executive director. “Irene Briggaman is a big part of the reason why.”
Irene started the project in 1989 after wanting to be more involved in the community once her children graduated from high school.
“After several postponements in getting our Triangle-wide version started, I volunteered to start the event independently in Chapel Hill and Carrboro with our local media sponsors,” Briggaman said. “Durham and Raleigh chose to drop out of the project in 2007. Chapel Hill and Carrboro continued on.”
Since it’s inception 25 years ago, the RSVVP event has helped provide 1.875 million hot meals to the hungry.
“When people ask me how we could make this work year after year when the larger towns couldn’t, I simply reply that they did not have an Irene,” Dorward said.
The event has also helped the council donate 300,000 bags of groceries to those facing hunger in the Chapel Hill area.
“She is dedicated to this project and she works hard to make sure it is successful each year,” Dorward said. “She has a great group of volunteers who work with her these days as she has stepped back a little, but for a long time early on Irene did almost all of the work.”
Ross Moll, the owner of R&R Grill, said he chose to participate because he wanted to be generous this holiday season.
“We’re happy to help the community and do good things during the holiday season.”
Briggaman said she’s excited that the event has helped the council come closer to ridding the Chapel Hill and Carrboro areas of hunger.
“It is my hope that this project will continue to be the popular and much-needed fundraiser it has become,” Briggaman said. “There is a ‘cure’ for hunger, and we will continue, to the best of our ability, to provide nutritious food to the people who come to our doors.”
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