Members of the university's chapter of Camp Kesem have looked into partnerships with local schools and businesses to help reach their goal of raising $35,000.

For four years, Camp Kesem has helped run a week-long summer camp for local children with a parent who has, or has had, cancer. Each year, the organization has been able to raise enough money to send every interested child to camp for free, said Austin Carter, Camp Kesem's fundraising co-coordinator.

Alex Martin, a Camp Kesem co-chair, said: "We've been lucky in the past few years that we haven't had to turn anyone away. But this year we might not be as lucky."

Last year, a large portion of the money that the organization was able to raise came from the Flo Rida concert during Pig Roast weekend, Martin said. This year, the Pig Roast festivities will be handled by the Campus Activities Board, leaving Camp Kesem to find other ways to raise the funds, he said.

"As an organization, we are doing a lot of different things in the community to try and raise money and raise awareness of what we are doing here," Carter said.

Camp Kesem has scheduled multiple profit shares with businesses in the area, such as Godiva chocolates and California Pizza Kitchen, Carter said. When customers go to these stores and mention Camp Kesem, a portion of their bill will be donated to the campus organization, she said.

"Coins for Kesem" is another fundraising program that is being implemented and involves local elementary, middle and high schools, Carter said.

The idea behind "Coins for Kesem" is to have students work together as a class to collect pennies, and the class that raises the most money will receive a prize, Carter said. Camp Kesem has contacted more than 20 schools with the hopes of both raising money and promoting the camp, she said.

In addition to these programs, the organization has aspirations of creating a program called "Kesemania" to promote the group's presence on campus, Martin said. This program would be open to all university students, professors and faculty, as well as the greater university community.

"We are hoping to tell a lot more people about what we do," Carter said. "We are always looking for people on campus to volunteer or donate."

While the Camp Kesem members are very focused on their goal of raising the $35,000 to run the camp, they all see the importance of what they are doing and the impact that the camp could have on children's lives, Martin said.

"Camp Kesem is really important to a lot of the kids that are able to attend the camp," said Samantha Meeker, a Camp Kesem co-chair. "It gives them a week to just be kids and not have to worry about hospitals."

Contact reporter James Riddick at james.riddick@richmond.edu