RUMSON – Since his days at Rumson-Fair Haven High School, Brendan Kirchner has nurtured an ongoing passion for running. From cross-country, to local 5k races to marathons, Brendan, now 25, has steadily improved his times, focused his training regimen, and even managed to place first in a few races. On April 27, 2014 at the Jersey Shore Marathon. Kirchner will be racing for something other than his best time. He will be running to raise money for children in need.
A few weeks ago it occurred to Kirchner that he’s been running “only for myself,” he said. “I thought, “Maybe I can help someone, a local organization, with my running.”
Soon after, he went to work at his job at Salt Creek Grille in Rumson and approached his boss, Steve Bidgood. “I knew that Biddy (Steve Bidgood) had raised a lot of money for local charities and I thought he could give me some ideas.”
Bidgood has indeed raised funds for local organizations. Over the past 11 years, he’s raised more than $600,000 for charities, many of them to benefit children, through an annual fundraising event at Salt Creek Grillle. And it just so happened that Bidgood was meeting that very day with representatives of Hope For Children Foundation of New Jersey, which is the beneficiary of this year’s fundraiser.
“Biddy introduced me to Eric and Karen Hinds,” Kirchner recalls, referring to the couple who are president and treasurer of HFCF, respectively. “I told them I going to run the Jersey Shore Marathon in late April and asked if I could make it a fundraiser for them.”
The Hinds loved the idea, Kirchner recalls, and signed on immediately. “So now I feel like I have a great reason to finish,” he said. “It’s funny how good it feels to know that I can help. It all seems to have a purpose now.”
So far, Kirchner has enlisted some of his co-workers to help solicit pledges, but he’s hoping to get a big boost on April 10, which is the night of the annual Salt Creek Grille fundraiser. Bidgood plans to announce Brendan’s fundraising run at the event to generate sponsors.
“But even if I don’t raise a lot, it’s great to feel like I’m doing the right thing,” he said.
The annual Salt Creek Grille Anniversary Wine & Martini Tasting Fundraiser will be heldThursday, April 10, 2014, 7-10 p.m., at the Rumson waterfront restaurant. There will be a gift basket and live auctions as well as a cash raffle at $50 per chance. Tickets for the event are $150 per person. For further information or to purchase tickets for the event please visit www.hfcf.org or call 201-705-4544. To sponsor Kirchner in the Jersey Shore Marathon contact the same number or website.
“Brendan is a great young man and like so many of my employees who work at Salt Creek Grille,” explained Bidgood. “They are passionate, hardworking, generous and good team players. Brendan is a jack-of-all-trades at the restaurant and a role model for the newer young employees. He is a server and bartender in the private dining room and an expediter in the dining room and he trains new employees. There is no doubt in my mind that he will raise a good chunk of change for HFCF!”
HFCF is an all-volunteer 501(c)(3) charitable organization of young professionals, entrepreneurs and parents in Monmouth County working together to raise funds to make a difference in the lives of children and their families. HFCF was started 10 years ago with the simple goal of “getting together with family, friends and colleagues to make a difference in our community.” On an annual basis HFCF identifies charitable organizations and individuals that will benefit from monies raised from various fundraisers. To date, HFCF has donated close to $2 million to local charities and families in need of assistance.