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Elmer IGA Puts the 'Fun' in Fundraising!

Author: Richard Schmidt

The Independent View


Elmer IGA Puts the 'Fun' in Fundraising!  

 November 20, 2012 


For a number of years now our community has been hosting the Elmer Harvest Day Festival, which is a communitywide fall celebration that everyone looks forward to all year long. It's an important event for our small town not just because it's a lot of fun, but also because it brings us all together and shows unity among community businesses. We try to support the community in everything we do, so we always work to participate in the Harvest Day Festival a big way.

This year when we started thinking about how we would join in, our new deli manager, Cathy Myers, suggested that we use her contacts at Toys for Tots and a Gold Wing motorcycle club to plan a promotion that would supply toys for needy kids in our community this Christmas. We thought that was a great idea, and it turned out to be one of those things that grew as more people got involved. What started out as a motorcycle meet turned into a full-blown 52-mile motorcycle run!

The way it worked was pretty simple: we invited anyone in the area with a motorcycle to join us, and all we asked in return was for them to contribute an unwrapped toy or $20. Before we knew it, we had 75 motorcycles signed up, including several from Bozzuto's, our IGA wholesaler, and visiting retailers Jim and Jeff Shook from Lake Region IGA and Nick Hurley from Hurley's IGA.

On the day of the event we held a breakfast at the store and started the run from our parking lot. We drove the 52 miles round trip, and then everyone came back to the store for lunch and stayed throughout the day for the other activities we had planned. For the kids we had face painting, scarecrow building and fire truck rides from the fire hall across the street, and our pharmacy set up a tent for adults to talk about their health and wellness and prescription issues. We also sold hot dogs and soda donated by our vendors to raise some extra money for Toys for Tots.

At the same time all this was going on at our store, there was a classic car show going on a few blocks away in the town center, and a scavenger hunt where kids went to each of the community's businesses looking for an item on their scavenger hunt list.

Elmer IGA 2012

It turned out to be a great day, and we were able to raise about $4,000 in cash and toys for our local chapter of Toys for Tots. The biggest reward for our planning comes from knowing that we helped out a good cause, and made it easy for our shoppers to do the same.


Richard Schmidt