Businesses backing the 'Save UNCW Track' group

Businesses are chipping in on donations. (Source: Save UNCW Track FB Page)
Businesses are chipping in on donations. (Source: Save UNCW Track FB Page)

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Different restaurants around Wilmington have jumped on board to help the "Save UNCW Track" group raise enough money to keep the school's track and field programs going.

Just over a week ago, UNCW Interim Chancellor Bill Sederburg announced the track and field team will have until May 31 to raise $250,000 in order to save the program for the 2015-2016 season.

Wilmington Taco Factory and American Grill is one of the restaurants leading the way.

Donna Prince, UNCW alumna and co-owner of the business, said the UNCW track and field coaches were some of her first and most loyal customers since they opened their doors in August.

She said when she found out their program was in trouble she wanted chip in.

"These guys work really hard and the students work very hard," said Prince. "It's good to be able to do something to help."

The restaurant is offering to donate 15 percent of customers' tickets starting now until May 31. All the customer has to do is write "UNCW Track" at the top of their order form and let the employee at the register know.

As of Friday night, the "Save UNCW Track" organization had raised a over $47,000. With the program needing to raise $250,000 dollars by the end of May, the Wilmington Taco Factory isn't the only business serving up some help.

On March 25 between 5 and 10 p.m., Jason's Deli is donating 15 percent of their proceeds to the program.

"It makes me very proud and the fact that so many people believe in what you stand for," said Track and Field head coach Jim Sprecher. "That we've been able to establish such a brand that people want to keep it around."

In a previous statement from Sederburg, he explained if the track and field program could raise the $250,000 dollars by May 31, UNCW would then supplement the rest of the budget with $80,000 in university funds to reach the required $330,000.

"Save UNCW Track" also agrees to secure major funding, a minimum of $800,000, but the group's goal is $1 million, by February of next year to renovate the track and field complex.

If the group can't raise the $250,000, the 2015-2016 track and field season won't be funded. If the group raises $250,000, but not the $1 million, UNCW officials can't promise anything past the 2015-2016 season.

UNCW has a home meet this weekend against Coastal Carolina. Coastal has similar funding issues a few years ago. Before the two teams meet Saturday, the teams are putting their rivalry aside to walk a lap around the track together to show their support.

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