My name is Stephanie Ossewaarde but, my friends call me Steph O. I've been working at Hazel's Beverage World for almost 5 years now and, we have started to our annual St. Jude Children's Hospital fundraiser. Each year for the month of October we set out to raise as much money as possible for the children and families of St. Jude.
For those of you who haven’t heard of Hazel's Beverage World, it's a locally owned and operated liquor store in Boulder, Colorado. We are the third largest in the state and have over 12,000 SKU’s. The store itself is amazing but, the efforts the cashiers and staff make each year to support a truly remarkable cause is even more spectacular.
What we do:
For the entire month of October, we ask every customer who checks out with us to make any kind of donation to St. Jude children's hospital. We set out buckets at each register to throw loose change in and, we ask our distributors and investors to make contributions. Coming from being a former cashier, this gets to be a lot of work by the end of those 31 days. That may not seem like that much to some of you but, if you knew the magnitude of our store and the number of people who shop with us, it would certainly change your mind. We run up to 10 registers at a given time and are open from 8:00am-11:45pm every day!
The best part:
The best part I’ve saved for last and, I think it will help you make your decision to help me make an even larger impact by donating...
Every single dollar you or anyone else donates through Hazel's Beverage World is going to St Jude. That’s 100%!! We partner with Coors for the entire month and their efforts raise over $100,000 annually!
Why this is so important to me:
I started working at Hazel's towards the end of October 2013. Donations were already in full swing and we had already raised a decent amount of money. I wanted to do my part to contribute so got right to it. By the end of the month I had raised about $1,000 and, was very happy with that. Two years later October came and I had my goals set to raise $2,000. I placed a note on my register asking people to help me reach my goal. Customers were intrigued and wanted to know what my goal was. I would then explain to them what St. Jude Children's Hospital was, my goal of doubling my efforts in contributing and, how those donations; even if small made a large impact!
I hit my goal very early and decided hey... if I can hit $2,000 in less than 2 weeks why not go for $3,000. It was a lot of talking and explaining but, I was 100% committed to raising money for these children and their families! I hit $3,000 and then, very shortly after that, $4,000. I couldn’t believe it! I was so proud of the work I was doing. That was so exciting to me that I decided, eh what the heck, I have a week left, lets shoot for $5,000.
So, the week went on and I was asking everyone, co-workers, reps, family members, friends, anyone I could get in contact with. This thing was going to happen. It was 30 minutes to the end of my last shift for the month of October and I ran over to our tasting bar. Bob H, a wine buyer from our wine department, was there. I said "Bob, can you please contribute to St. Jude Children's Hospital through me, I am so close to hitting $5,000." Another co-worker of mine was standing there as well and, with their contributions my goal was met! I could have cried!
After this I was invited to Memphis, Tennessee for a trip of a life time. I would get to tour the facilities and meet some of the kids and families I had set out to help. When I got there everything really started to sink in.
St. Jude Children's research facilities were incredible and, what they do for these kids and their families is unfathomable. Not only are they the top children's research facility in the world, dedicated to the cure of leukemia and related blood diseases in children; it’s all free for these kiddo's and their families. With the efforts of the staff and people like you; the 4% survival rate of the most common form of cancer (AAL) has risen to a staggering 94% survival rate since 1964.
The families that come to St. Jude are given a chance for hope. There is zero cost and St. Jude even pays for transportation to the facility in Memphis. These family’s lives have been turned upside down and St. Jude is there to provide the best care out there. They are given housing and a $100 gift card weekly for basic family needs. For the kids who must stay long term they personalize their bedrooms from top to bottom with their favorite superhero or favorite theme. They have a music room, art room, play room, and so much more. The halls are covered in murals of each the 4 seasons. It’s a representation of their journey. Starting in Winter, where things are cold and dark moving all the way through until the sunshine is felt and things are bright for them. This was a very heartwarming experience and I will never forget it.
The founder of St. Jude, Danny Thomas and his family did and still are making efforts to ensure that no child, regardless of race, creed, or financial status, would be refused treatment. The men and women that contribute to his efforts have done something exceptional for the fight against childhood cancer. Whether it be working on research, providing care, donating time, money, or resources, all efforts are extremely appreciated from every child, their families, and those who know these families. Having visited St. Jude and seeing firsthand how the people who care for these children on a day to day basis, refuse to lose hope is truly inspiring. These people do something inconceivable; regardless of anything, they continue to fight and bring hope to these children and their families.
I am no longer a cashier and, I won’t be able contribute as much this year so, I’ve decided to try and help in other ways. I’ve come up with a plan to try and get you and, local companies involved. Last year our store alone raised approximately $30,000 thanks to the efforts of my amazingly dedicated co-workers. It feels good knowing $30,000 went to helping better the life of those children and their families fighting for hope and a cure at St. Jude Children's Hospital.
I am asking you all from the bottom of my heart, knowing there are millions of causes to support, devastation all around the world and, plenty of worthy causes, to help me in my endeavor!
If you have questions or want to know more about my trip to St. Jude, just ask. I'd love to share!! Thanks in advance!
Stephanie T. Ossewaarde
- Samantha Rinck
- Chante Carter
- wayne bogatin
- Jim Loftus
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