Bojangles’ patron Gina Wilkins said her breakfast biscuit tasted “extra delicious” Thursday in light of the fact the senior knew she was helping to support a worthy cause just by eating out.
While Wilkins ate at the fast food chain’s English Road location, hundreds of diners across the Twin Counties also supported one of the area’s larger dropout prevention programs, Communities In Schools, all day as they spent dollars at 58 other restaurants.
The 2013 Dine Out for Communities In Schools is an annual effort representing a partnership between the business and education communities in which participating restaurants pledge 10 percent of their sales to bolster the CIS operating budget.
“I wish the community would organize fundraisers like this more often than once a year. I know it is a cliché, but this Dine Out effort is a win-win-win for everybody,” Wilkins said. “The businesses get more customers and attention in the community for their philanthropy efforts. Those customers are happy to know they are contributing to a local nonprofit. Then, in the end, Communities In Schools and the students it serves benefit the most with the money raised.”
The Dine Out event typically raises around $14,000 each year, which is directed toward providing scholarships, financial literacy workshops, college visits and a variety of other events for students, many of which are the first in their families to transition to a postsecondary education.
“The CIS Model is based on the idea of surrounding our students with a community of support,” Communities In Schools Executive Director Natalie Watson said. “It’s not just the teachers, parents and CIS staff, but it really does take the community to ensure the success of our program. Dine Out is a great way to get the local businesses and community at large involved.”
It is crucial to get the message out about the great things Communities In Schools does for its students, Watson said, which ultimately impacts the community in a positive way.
The number of restaurants participating in Dine Out has grown from 55 last year to 59 this year.
“We are always so pleased at the number of restaurants that agree to participate in Dine Out each year. We feel that the continued support we receive each year from our restaurants is due to the positive response the restaurants received from their patrons,” said Bill Boddie, president and CEO of Boddie-Noell Enterprises. “We feel very fortunate to live in a community that continues to answer the call to help deserving causes such as Communities In Schools.”
Dine Out has been a great fundraiser for the past 17 years, Boddie said, and has raised approximately $250,000 for the Communities In Schools operating budget.
The total amount raised during this year’s Dine Out will be announced by April 15, Boddie said.
After having eaten a sandwich at the Subway located in the Westridge Shopping Center, Steve Lenahan said he was pleased to hear a portion of his money went to the fundraisers.
“It feels good. I mean, I’ve seen the signs all around town, but it just kind of crept up on me,” Lenahan said. “I’ll probably end up going out to eat again (Thursday night) now that I remember.”