A Perfect Storm Takes a Village: How Raising Funds Gives Back to the Community

DSCN5304My daughter did this!  I’m so proud of her.  She inspires me in so many ways.  She is a go-getter, and she’s a giver.  (She’s the grown up bossy little girl I told you about before.)

“4 Momz 2 Momz” is the perfect storm of service organizations’ fundraisers.  Twice a year it raises money for Moms United; it helps local families, and it helps local charities.

Moms United is fellowship group run through Marengo’s Zion Lutheran Church.  The group is open to the public and meets the third Thursday of each month during the school year. The “4 Momz 2 Momz” fundraiser helps pay for Christian  based speakers who cover topics like finances, motherhood, women’s friendships, and marriage.

“4 Momz 2 Momz” is the brainchild of Cecily who, as a mother of five children, knows that kids’ clothing, strollers, books, and toys take a big bite out of every family’s budget.  She and her friend Jacki  pushed for two years to organize the multifamily re-sale event.  It took a crisis (nearly dissolving the group) and the two friends’ persistence to get the group to believe they could do it.   Becky and Deanne  joined Cecily and Jacki as the main movers and shakers of the event.

But the event takes a village of women to guarantee success.  “We couldn’t do it without all the dedicated women here,” Cecily tells me.

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Families from the surrounding community bring children’s and adults’ clothing, strollers, bicycles, toys, books, and other re-usable children’s items to the sale and tag them with an asking price.  The seller gives a percentage of the proceeds, from  as much as 35% to only 5%, depending on how many 2 ½ hour shifts she works. The rest goes to Moms United.

Volunteers from Moms United provide quality control checks to assure the items are in good working condition.  They assure the clothing is clean and free of holes, rips, and stains.  The clothing is organized on racks according to size and clothing type.

Each of the four women running the sale agrees that the experience is enriching for them.  Becky is the “studious, good girl” of the group, striving to keep things defined and controlled.  Cecily is the team’s independent rebel who pushes the boundaries of what they can do.  Deanne is the cheerleader  with the ‘yes we can’ attitude.  Her enthusiasm keeps everyone’s spirits up.  Though very different women, their combined spirits are what make this huge biennial project so successful.

But it’s not all work.  Becky, Jacki, Deanne, and Cecily see first-hand the benefit to the community.  It gives sellers an opportunity to make a little cash.  Families are able to buy their summer clothes, or an entire wardrobe of school clothes for a fraction of the cost of store-bought.

This spring’s sale was the 10th “4 Momz 2 Momz.”  With more than 500 visitors and over 17,000 items for sale, it was the biggest to date.  Yet, the venue, Marengo Area High School common area, provides a well-lit, spacious, and pleasant shopping experience.

Several area charities also benefit from the sale.  After the volunteers dissemble the racks and put the high school back in order for Monday morning, trucks from Tri-County Pregnancy Center, the Kids’ Food Pantry, and Home of the Sparrow (a local charity that benefits battered women) arrive to distribute the items that are not sold.  “Representatives from the organizations have tears in their eyes,” says Jacki.  “They are that thankful.” Jacki has a tear in her eye when she tells me how grateful people are.IMG_4026

“4 Momz 2 Momz” enriches the organizers and benefits the women who give to the sale.  It goes beyond raising funds for Moms United.  The sale provides cost-savings for the buyers and provides clothing and supplies to people in need.

It is, indeed, the “Perfect Storm” of fund-raisers.  Lucky for these women, they have until August before the next storm hits.  In the meantime, they are thinking of ways to make it better.