Relay for Life hosts first annual Stick a Fork in Cancer restaurant week

Local restaurants offer a portion of their proceeds to Relay for Life fundraising


Relay for Life's fundraising goal this year is $200,000, which is in honor of the University's Bicentennial. 

Natalia Heguaburo | Cavalier Daily

From Nov. 6 to Nov. 13, five local restaurants will participate in Relay for Life at U.Va.’s Stick a Fork in Cancer Week by donating a portion of their proceeds to the organization. 

Mezeh, Uncle Maddio’s, Chipotle, BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse and Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers will each host the event one day over the next week. The donations will vary between 10 to 50 percent of the restaurants’ daily proceeds. 

While Relay for Life has previously held individual restaurant fundraisers and benefit nights, this is the first time a group of restaurants will be participating at once. The University Relay team’s Food Committee, which oversees all food fundraising, has coordinated the event alongside the University’s Relay campus representative Susanna Blauch. 

Taylor Hogge, a fourth-year Curry student and Food Committee co-chair, said Relay has been working to coordinate an event like this in the past and is excited it is finally coming together. 

“I’ve been on Relay for Life’s Food Committee since first year, just because cancer has affected a lot of people in my family and a lot of friends,” Hogge said.  “Over the years we have done a lot of fundraising activities through concession sales and bake sales, but we’ve never done a restaurant week.”

Chelsea Umberger, a fourth-year Curry student and Hogge’s co-chair on the Food Committee, said last year her grandfather passed away from lung cancer, so working alongside other Relay members and coordinating an event such as this is meaningful to her. 

“Last year’s Relay for Life was the first time I relayed in his memory, because he passed away last year,” Umberger said. “Relay for Life was a big unifying event for me and I was supported by people who knew what I was going through, and that’s when I decided this was a cause I really wanted to share my passion in.”

Umberger said the committee does not have a set goal for the fundraising since the event is new, but they are working towards Relay’s annual goal. 

“[We] just want to move towards our goal this year, which is $200,000 in the spirit of the Bicentennial, so we are hoping to get closer to that,” Umberger said. 

Hogge said the Food Committee approached restaurants in the Shops at Stonefield because these would likely want to donate money to an important cause in their new community. 

“We wanted to target the Stonefield area because it’s newer, and there are a lot of restaurants who haven’t been able to give back to Relay yet who are interested,” Hogge said. “Some [restaurants] require a flier while others do not, [but] it’s during the whole day, open to close.”

Additionally, Umberger said Relay aims to involve more of the local community through this event by providing information about the organization and the American Cancer Society at each restaurant the day they host the event. 

“We also want to reach out to the broader community to get them involved in Relay for Life,” Umberger said. “So [we] also [focused on] spreading awareness for the American Cancer Society and what they do.”

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