brendan_2Brendan Kirchner, a Rumson-Fair Haven graduate and employee of Salt Creek Grille, will be taking part in the NJ Marathon on April 27, in an effort to raise funds for Hope For Children Foundation of New Jersey.

Press release from Salt Creek Grille

Since his days at Rumson-Fair Haven Regional 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, Kirchner will be racing for something other than his best time, when he runs the New Jersey Marathon 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 his job as a server and bartender 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, an all-volunteer organization, 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.

To purchase tickets for the annual Salt Creek Grille Anniversary Wine & Martini Tasting Fundraiser — or to sponsor Brendan Kirchner in the Jersey Shore Marathon — please visit www.hfcf.org or call (201)705-4544.