One of the items that Beechie’s Place uses the most isn’t even on the menu – it’s scotch tape. The color scheme in this Meadowlands eatery changes almost monthly when paper awareness ribbons are affixed everywhere from the waitresses’ station to the bar mirror. Each one represents a donation in support of the current charitable cause. Sometimes it is orange for multiple sclerosis, purple for lupus, blue for pediatric hydrocephalus, or pink for breast cancer. Activities such as the ribbon campaigns have done so much more than raise funds for worthy causes; they have helped to paint Beechie’s as a community-minded business that is proud to support and encourage local philanthropy.
Lisa and Lane McFarland, the owners of Beechie’s, have strong community ties – their families have lived in this area for generations. Aspiring to follow in the footsteps of their parents who were “giving and charitable people,” the McFarlands became involved with numerous local organizations such as the Canonsburg-Houston Rotary Club, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, their church, and other activities with a youth focus. Years ago, when they owned a building company, the McFarlands were quick to help those in the Houston area who had been affected by damaging floods, donating furniture and household goods to families in need. Today, the family employs that same philosophy at Beechie’s – so much so that the restaurant has earned a reputation not only for its cooking but also for it’s commitment to the community.
Lisa remarked, “Having a venue, like Beechie’s, that can be used to help raise money for local charitable causes is a treat we’ve never had before.”
In addition to fundraisers surrounding the treatment and eradication of disease, Beechie’s has also hosted events and supported the local Fraternal Order of Police, the Washington Area Humane Society, neighborhood churches, and sports teams. The staff is particularly enthusiastic about these types of activities – they take great pride in being involved and work hard to decorate the restaurant or wear themed accessories so that others will be excited too.
“Our staff members have a lot of fun, and it makes them feel good that they have a role in helping to raise funds,” Lane reflected.
The Beechie’s team is also committed to incorporating an educational component into all their sponsorships and fundraising events. In fact, patrons will often see table tents of facts and statistics scattered around the restaurant or engage in conversation with the wait staff about their current charitable focus. The McFarlands’ son, Chef Lane, remarked, “That’s the thrill. . .when someone asks about a cause, or when we make a connection with a customer who shares his or her story with us.”
Additionally, Beechie’s will say “thank you” to local public service employees by making in-kind donations of food to teachers and the police department.
Julie Clendaniel, a restaurant employee who prepared the award nomination, wrote, “Lisa and Lane’s most passionate form of giving is by educating their employees about the importance of philanthropy, not only monetarily, but by donating time. If an employee needs time off to assist charities or local community functions, they will find a way to make it happen, even if it means that Lisa waits tables herself.”
While the McFarlands are the family behind Beechie’s, the “Beechie’s family” includes their employees, customers, and members of the community. When there is a need, the McFarlands will do what they can to help – because at Beechie’s, “family” always comes first.