To give back to the community during the holiday season, the Tenafly Chamber of Commerce created "Tenafly Gives Back," an initiative that will donate money to local food pantries.
Local businesses will donate proceeds to give to those in need, while additionally increasing traffic in the downtown area.
"God knows in this economy people are really struggling," said Cathy McCauley, chamber member and co-owner of Cooktique, a combination cooking store and gift shop.
Starting Nov. 15, selected stores in downtown Tenafly will donate 10 percent of their profits to two local food pantries: The Center for Food Action and The Office of Food Concern in Englewood. Stores include Celebrity Kids, Cooktique, Health Way, Retro Fitness, Saga Electronics, Tenafly Auto Mall, Tenafly Classic Diner and Womrath's.
If Tenafly residents wish to participate in the donation, they must mention "Tenafly Gives Back" when shopping on Nov. 22, and Nov. 29. Proceeds from purchases will only be donated if the promotion is mentioned by name.
The idea to run a donation drive within local businesses began during an executive board meeting of the Chamber of Commerce. Chamber members brainstormed to find a way to support both "neighbors in need" and small business owners.
"How could we get the people to not only shop downtown but also give back to the community at the same time?" said McCauley. "That's when we brought up the subject for the Office of Food Concern or the Englewood Food Center. Hopefully it will generate some foot traffic and have residual benefit to the food centers."
Bob Kutik, a chamber member who owns the independent bookstore Womrath's, believed this was a good way for Tenafly to practice "cause marketing."
"What you do is something that's good for the town, good for the community, but also helps raise recognition and awareness of the different businesses. Businesses get a promotion and, in this case, the food pantries get donations."
Womrath's will even reach out to local children in its efforts to support the local food pantries. On Nov. 20, the bookstore will sponsor a "story time" event, where children will bring a can of food as admission to hear a reading of the book "How Do You Feed a Hungry Giant?"
Although these stores will donate 10 percent of proceeds on Tuesdays, this process will be done in different ways. Saga Electronics, said Kutik, will be donate 10 percent on any order off of the suggested manufacture's list, while Womrath's will take 10 percent from a customer's total purchase.
Some Tenafly stores that are not participating in the 10 percent initiative will act as drop off centers for non-perishable food, including winery Wine Ventures. Owner Bill Kapito believes that "Tenafly Gives Back" will help veterans who are going hungry during the hard economic times.
"I think it will help because veterans are also family people," said Kapito. "There are times when people are out of work and out of jobs. There are a lot of veterans that are emotionally not able to function and this helps them."
Gerri Migliore, president of the Chamber of Commerce, believes this initiative is an important way that the chamber is influencing residents of Tenafly.
"It's part of our relationship with the community," said Migliore. "It's part of our commitment to provide quality services to the people of the community. But it also looks beyond to take a look at those people who are struggling, especially now."