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English: Rotary International emblem

English: Rotary International emblem (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

On Saturday, I volunteered to assist in our local Rotary Club’s annual coin drop fundraiser. Basically, you don a very bright vest, hold a bucket and stand in the middle of the road soliciting donations to the cause. I participated in the first shift, standing out on the main street in town for about an hour and a half. It was actually fun, more people stopped, dropping coins and “folding money” (as one gentlemen put it) into the bucket than did not. Even the folks who didn’t or couldn’t contribute were kind enough to wave or even stop and apologize for not being able to contribute. The generosity was amazing. It was nice to see familiar faces and have a couple seconds chat while they made their donation. It was even nicer to see and speak to total strangers. I had folks inquire as to the purpose of the collection, I had folks share a bit of their history (for example, a 40 year Rotarian was very pleased to help a fellow Rotary club). Some folks literally emptied their change cups into our buckets, others reached into their wallet for paper money. Folks had their kids put the money into the bucket from the back seat and folks apologized for the screw or dog biscuit that might be mixed in with their contribution.

Coins in High Contrast

Coins in High Contrast (Photo credit: MoneyBlogNewz)

I have always loved people watching. I remember when I was younger and driving around with my family in the car going here or there. I loved the dusk hours when people’s lights were on but shades were not yet drawn. You had a chance to get a glimpse into their world – see a different kitchen, a family eating, a living room so very different from your own. It was a similar experience on Saturday when the folks driving by would stop to drop in their donation. You caught a quick glimpse into their lives since a person’s car is just as much a statement about themselves as anything else. Some were filled with dogs (yes, literally there were about five dogs in one car, occupying both the front and back of the vehicle), gardening equipment, some looked as if people were moving or living out of their cars with the variety of different household things gathered there. Some cars were filled with people, young and old, some were solo drivers with a computer open on the seat (how do they do that?). It was an interesting opportunity to get a peek into people’s lives, have a chat here and there and raise money for a worthy cause, the scholarships and community service work that the Rotary performs on a regular basis.

Being on the other side of the window, so to speak, gave me a new and different perspective and respect for all those firefighters and other groups that conduct coin drop fundraisers especially now that the summer weather seems to have arrived.

If you are one of the drivers approaching a coin drop, please do slow down, it’s hard for both of us unless you come to an almost complete stop. This was my first time and I’ve yet to perfect “my collecting money while  jogging alongside someone’s car and trying not to get run over ” technique. Maybe by next time around…..

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Things have been crazy. In addition to work and the other mom-erly duties the Odyssey parents have been working on the final leg of our fundraising. We are having a MayDay Dessert Party and Silent Auction at WES this Saturday. The previous weeks have been canvassing for donations of items to auction and now, it is a matter of cataloging them, making signs and advertising. Baking will come later in the week. If you live in the area and don’t have any other way of celebrating MayDay, you should come and check out all our hard, hard work. I must admit, that it came in drips and drabs, but the collection is pretty cool – there are Lake Champlain cruise tickets, wine and cheese baskets, theater tickets, attraction tickets and lots of really cool potential Mother’s Day gifts in the mix. All the proceeds will go to help the Odyssey kids get to Michigan at the end of May. If nothing else, the list of desserts we are preparing is pretty darn impressive and should be quite tasty!

Coming back from Odyssey States is a relief for the kids. They won and while they have work to do, their schedule is open for a breather. For the parents and the coaches however, our work begins. There was a mandatory meeting for the coaches last night and one of the coach/parents and I met this morning to review and pull apart what we did last year and plan this year’s fundraising. Letters, letters and more letters. The pen is mightier than the sword and all that jazz. I absolutely suck at soliciting people in person for money. A salesperson is so not a career choice for me. I would starve to death. I however, don’t mind crafting a letter and filling out forms for donations until my fingers fall off – which by the looks of the work ahead of us, they just might.

Today was filled with filing out donation requests, seeking information about whom to contact about donations at various entities and doing letters and envelopes. Perhaps I should take on the job of grant writer. Seems that what I have been doing isn’t a far cry off.

We need to raise $6000 in order for the kids to attend the worlds. It will come, slowly I am sure in dimes and dollars, but these are the times everyone wishes someone knew a kind spirit that had spare cash to just send in one fell swoop. Alas, that is the stuff of movies and this is reality…..off I go to write more letters.

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