The campaign has truly been a labor of love. We started off the year by donating over 120 items to Gerard Place. We collected hygiene items, towels, school supplies and even a bed (thanks to my boyfriend) and dropped them all off in February. The staff was such a great help as we unloaded it all, and you could tell they were truly grateful! I am sure all those items have been put to good use now. Thank you to many of my Zumba students who donated items!
During the months of February and March I collected donations for The American Lung Association of the Northeast. In total I raised $1147.00 that supported my 40 story, 800 step stair climb up One HSBC Center downtown. This was my second year doing the event, and this year it ended up being much tougher for me. My asthma acted up, but I made it through in under ten minutes (9:08)! I was bummed I didn't get up to the top quicker, but in the end, I raised important dollars that will benefit me and the millions of other people who have asthma. So many friends, family members and co-workers donated, and I can't thank you all enough for supporting me in something I so strongly believe in!!
For months I collected donations for my very first Ride for Roswell event on June 23rd. In total I personally raised over $600 and the "Lovin' On Buffalo" team raised $1200!!! I am so proud of the team (Geoffrey Testa, Aimee Bell and Pierson Bell) for all their hard work raising money. The race day was absolutely tremendous and I never felt so much Buffalove! So many people donated to the ride and were truly inspirational as I climbed on a bike (for the first time in over 10 years!). I was scared to get back on, but by doing so I helped raise awareness and money for one of Buffalo's greatest assets! Thank you!
In June I also threw a Zumbathon event to raise money for Danceability Inc. We had close to 60 people show up to shake it for a good cause, and ended the night by raising $900 for the organization. It was a wonderful two hour event filled with a lot of smiles, laughs, and sweat! Special thanks to one of my good friends, Julie Francis for donating her time to lead the Zumbathon with me!!
In July, I purchased many items from The Brighton Place wishlist and dropped them off to the library. They had a big list of books they were looking for, and also were asking for children's art/craft supplies. Director Cassie was so thrilled when I brought everything in. I am going to be working with Brighton Place SOON and we are hopefully going to be starting up a Buffalo book club! We will be reading books about Buffalo, based on Buffalo or written by local authors. I'll have more information on it soon!
This afternoon I'll be dropping off 41 hygiene bags to Catholic Charities. These bags are given to people in need when they come into the office. I have spent months collecting items, throwing a few things in my shopping cart when I go to Wegmans or see something on sale at Target. I also hosted a wine tasting party a few weeks back and asked all guests to bring items on the list. I spent one evening packaging them all together, and I'm looking forward to dropping them off. My goal is to get another 41 done by the end of the year!
I partnered with Faces of Buffalo to raise some money for Hospice Buffalo. We only ended up raising $25 for the charity through online sales of items, but I am hopeful we can partner with Faces of Buffalo on another venture. And, as for Hospice Buffalo, I have another fundraiser in mind for them before the year is over.
I am thrilled by all I have been able to accomplish this year so far, and am hopeful I can continue down this path to do more for the other organizations I have chosen to help out. I am always looking for local businesses who may be interested in partnering to help raise money. I'll do most of the work, just looking for some local groups to help out!
I truly have learned this year that one person can make a difference. These donations may not amount to a lot in the big scheme of things, but little donations here and there can truly have an impact on the people Buffalo organizations serve.
If you have a few dollars to spare, or a few hours of time to donate - pay it forward! It might end up changing your life too!