Beyond the Moustache: Movember Hits Home for Irish PubOctober 29, 2013 By: Alissa Ponchione
Movember, which involves growing moustaches to raise awareness for prostate cancer, can be seen as an inherently silly event — mustaches, after all, provide the perfect template for mocking — but it’s the larger purpose of raising money for cancer that is the motivation for Samuel Beckett’s; the Alexandra, Va. based Irish gastro pub.
The bar’s owner, Mark Kirwan, has battled cancer, as did his sister. (The bar hosts a breast cancer awareness promotion in October, as well.) Movember was “a natural progression” for the altruistic bar,” explains the bar’s manager Rhys Davies. “It was an easy choice for all us to get on board” to raise money and awareness for cancer, he adds.
This year, the bar has decided “to do as many events as possible,” kicking the promotion off with the Halloween night Sweeny Todd shave-off. Three barbers will come to the bar to ensure all participants are clean shaven. “It’s a great way to start the event,” Davies says.
This is the third year Samuel Beckett’s has hosted a Movember promotion. Usually the staff participates by signing up at Movember.com; regular customers will also join the Samuel Beckett’s Movember team.
Throughout the month, the bar holds “Mo-lections.” Weekly photos of the participants are posted to a giant board at the bar, and customers vote on different categories. “Every time they vote, they have to donate a dollar,” Davies says.
Additionally, local businesses donate items for a silent auction at the end of the month “just to boost the money we can raise,” he says. T-shirts are also available, which “guarantee” that people inside and outside the bar will ask about Movember. All proceeds from T-shirt sales go to the charity. Although there is no donation goal to reach, Davies hopes the bar will raise “as much as possible. There is no limit.”
But it wasn’t always easy. Davies said it was difficult during the first year to brainstorm different event ideas. “Our first year we came up with the shave off, but we struggled to come up with different events during the month.” He chalks those challenges up to planning something new and not knowing how it will work.
Davies says that hosting events throughout the month generate more awareness and donations. Plus, the feedback from patrons and the community is rewarding. “They love to see us getting involved and giving something back,” he says. “It’s something we do not for the bar but to help a global problem.”