This week’s WCHL Hometown Hero is Irene Briggaman, who started RSVVP Day in 1989 as a way for local restaurants and their customers to give back to the community.

Briggaman initially came up with the idea after considering programs being put in place by the Food Bank of Eastern North Carolina, who took inspiration from waiters and waitresses in Baltimore who donated portions of their tips to hunger relief organizations. Briggaman brought the idea to Chapel Hill and, although the first year of the event was a small group effort, RSVVP Day has grown to involve 84 local restaurants this year alone.

One day a year, these restaurants donate 10 percent of their gross earnings from the whole day’s business to the Inter-Faith Council’s hunger relief programs. According to IFC’s website, 103 restaurants and their customers raised more than $24,000 last year for IFC’s hunger relief programs, bringing the cumulative total of money raised via RSVVP Day over 28 years to over half a million dollars!

Irene Briggaman is dedicated to her mission, and continues to work day in and day out to feed those in need. “Hunger is a problem that has a solution,” said Briggaman. “And how nice it is, to be involved in that solution.”