Christian Relief Services Raises Awareness In Unusual Venue

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Megan Carter and Sheree Lane of Christian Relief Services distribute information and recruit runners for a fundraising marathon during a recent Non-Profit Tuesday at the Arlington location. District Busboys stores provide low-cost rental space for nonprofits' events.
June 16, 2009

CITIZEN JOURNALISM: Good works on menu

By Liz Essley THE WASHINGTON TIMESMegan Carter and Sheree Lane of Christian Relief Services distribute information and recruit runners for a fundraising marathon during a recent Non-Profit Tuesday at the Arlington location. District Busboys stores provide low-cost rental space for nonprofits' events.

Two workers from Christian Relief Services sat behind a table most of one afternoon, brochures spread out before them. They were there to take advantage of an opportunity – Non-Profit Tuesdays at Busboys and Poets in Arlington.

The restaurant gives nonprofits space to share information about their work and donates 5 percent of the evening’s dinner proceeds – usually between $200 and $400 – to the day’s nonprofit.

Megan Carter, program assistant at Christian Relief Services, said this kind of service is unique for a restaurant.

“Busboys is the only place I know that actually has one day of the week dedicated to helping nonprofits, which is awesome,” she said.

Christian Relief Services (CRS) used the space to raise awareness about the organization and to recruit runners for its 26.2-mile fundraising marathon.

The Tuesday event fits into the mission of Busboys – part-restaurant, part-bookstore, part-community-gathering-place.

“The whole idea behind Busboys was to create this space to promote peace and social justice. We’ve tried to let that permeate every aspect of the business,” said Kat Hansen, director of marketing and events.

Barbara Moller participated in two Non-Profit Tuesdays last year with her initiative Paper to Pearls, which importChristian Relief Services' staff distribute information about the charitys jewelry made of recycled paper by poverty-stricken women in Uganda. Through jewelry sales and the donated dinner revenue, the two Tuesdays raised a total of $1,248 that went directly to the Ugandan women. Ms. Moller said the project fascinated Busboys customers.

“People are always interested in the project, particularly at a place like Busboys, being a progressive type of environment,” Ms. Moller said. “I was a big fan of Busboys before this, and now I’m a really big fan of Busboys. It’s a great contribution to the nonprofit community.”

Busboys’ two locations in the District offer significant discounts on room rental fees to nonprofit organizations. The Arlington location does not have rooms to offer, so it created Non-Profit Tuesdays instead. It also offers a large space in the back with a projector screen to nonprofits that want to give presentations or show films.

The event, which Busboys has hosted for more than a year, focuses on local organizations and usually draws two nonprofits a month. Ms. Hansen said they are still working on creating awareness about the opportunity.