Eat up to fork out for charity: Striper Bites first to take part in fundraiser

by Michael Short on February 24, 2011

By Michael Short

Striper Bites Bistro in Lewes is offering diners a chance to donate part of the proceeds of each dinner to the charity of their choice.

It’s called Fork-In, Fork-Out (FiFo) and it’s the brainchild of veteran local bartender Andrew Thomas. Each Wednesday night for the last five weeks, diners at Striper Bites have been able to pick a charity and donate ten percent of their check cost to that charity.

It’s not unusual for restaurants to host the occasional special night to raise funds for charities. But Thomas hopes Fork-In, Fork-Out will evolve into far more than just the occasional night.

He hopes a series of restaurants will continually offer diners a chance to give back to their community.

“People are passionate about supporting their local charities and non-profits,” Thomas said. “They are also passionate about food and I knew I wanted a local restaurant that served great food.”

Thomas has another Rehoboth Beach restaurant interested in the idea and Striper Bites has agreed to extend the program for another three weeks. It’s a modest start to what Thomas hopes will become something much larger. “My hope is that we can have several restaurants get involved and enable folks to have places to go each night of the week to support their favorite non-profits.”

He said it’s a win for everyone involved. The restaurants get increased business because people come out to support their local charities. The charities get a chance to make some extra money during a time when the economy continues to sputter and people are counting every nickel.

Finally, people get to eat a fine meal at a restaurant like Striper Bites.

Thomas also has a marketing firm called Cherry Cheetah, which he credits with developing the FiFo idea. The firm’s logo features a cheetah, but with some of the spots replaced with cheeries. “The idea is, if you want to change your spots and separate from the pack . . . go with Cherry Cheetah,” he said.

Participating groups thus far include: The Beebe Medical Foundation, Clear Space Theatre Company, Coastal Concerts, Cape Henlopen Educati0nal Foundation, Fort Miles Historical Association, Lewes Public Library, Meals on Wheels Lewes-Rehoboth, Overfalls Foundation, Seashore Strider Youth Cross Country, Lewes Historical Society, Safe Haven Animal Sanctuary, Center for the Inland Bays, Sussex County Habitat for Humanity, Children’s Beach House, The Rehoboth Beach Film Society and the Historic Lewes Farmer’s Market.

Just ask your server for a “give back slip” when you ask for your check. Circle the non-proft of your choice and they get ten percent of the proceeds from your purchase.

The actual charities listed may vary (FiFo donation slips are a bit of a work in progress), but if a charity has been taken off the slip, diners can write the name on the back of the slip.

Thomas jokes that there may be room for 100 charities on the slip, “but most restaurants are not stocked with magnifying glasses.”

Thomas got the idea from seeing fundraising nights offered by local businesses. “I decided that it might be a great idea for a restaurant to create a weekly fundraiser night, just as it might have a weekly burger night, and to include not just one, but many local non-profits . . . just as folks commit to memory that a certain night of the week is “Burger Night” at their favorite restaurant, so to hopefully, will they gain a passion for FiFo night.”

“It’s a great way to support your favorite local causes at a great local restaurant,” he said in a press release announcing FiFo.

For additional information, including a list of restaurants and charities, go to forkinforkout.com.  Thomas hopes to eventually link to all the charities through the FiFo website.

You can find out more about Cherry Cheetah by going to www.cherrycheetah.com.

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