In the weeks leading up to Christmas, Farmers retail store in Whanganui collected funds for their local Hospice in a variety of imaginative ways.
With an internal competition as added incentive, the store raised $11,929.68 between November 19 and December 24. The total was substantially greater than the previous year.
“That was raised by us asking customers as we served them,” says Jos Perry. “They were so generous.”
When a customer made a purchase, the store assistant would ask if they would like to make a donation to Hospice Whanganui.
“It was a no-brainer,” says Jos. “Ninety-nine per cent of the people said ‘yes’. We hardly ever had a person say ‘no’.” She says most people have had Hospice in their lives, one way or another, and know how valuable their work is.
Some were very generous, with more than one donation of $100 proffered. Others rounded up their purchase price to the nearest dollar.
That was one way of fundraising.
There was also the Tree of Remembrance. Customers could make a donation and receive a card on which they could write a personal message, perhaps to someone who has passed, or to someone far away. They could then hang the card on the tree. The tree was very popular, although many people donated and did not take a card.
Or people could buy a Christmas glass bauble for their tree at home. Baubles were priced at $10 each. Every year Hospice produces a bauble with a theme. Last year the theme was ‘togetherness’. To many they have become a collectable item.
“It’s really special to us, as an organisation, just because of the year we’ve all had, which has been tough for all of us,” says Hospice Whanganui chief executive, Davene Vroon. “Every year is so amazing and valuable to us, but particularly this year, and then this outstanding result … so beautifully unexpected. It will make a significant difference to us as an organisation.”
Davene says Farmers had such a great team collecting for Hospice this year.
“Everyone was so generous, particularly at Christmas time, it’s really heart-warming. This team has been so behind and supportive of Hospice and of this campaign. We are so grateful. They are one of our major corporate partners.” Davene had plenty of praise for Farmers’ management and staff.
She says next year Hospice could provide volunteer staff to provide a Christmas wrapping service for a koha.
“We have to raise more than half our budget every year from the community to run Hospice. That’s why this kind of consistent annual campaign and the incredible support from one of our local businesses is so important to us.”
This is Hospice Whanganui’s 40th year providing a service to the community.