Sunday, January 3, 2021

Thank You Real Food Blends, PLUS A 2020 RECAP From Our Development Director

Today we would like to thank Real Food Blends for placing an advertisement in our most recent newsletter. This newsletter is vital in sharing the impactful stories from our community. New and existing families within our community are very grateful for your help in keeping this program alive. It is a lifeline for all, letting them know they are not alone. We cannot think of a more important message than that one especially during a time when we are being told to stay socially distant from others.

To get a sense of the type of stories we tell in our newsletter, an article capturing our 2020 fundraising achievements written by Development Director, Christine Andler. A typescript version development accomplishments can be found below in order to make this story accessible to all.

Read our whole E-Newsletter by clicking here.

Thank you, again, Real Food Blends. Go to their website to place your order, and learn more about the high-quality, nutritional "100% real food meals for people with feeding tubes."

If you would have told me in January the 2020 Development Letter to you all would shape up anything like this, I would have thought you were on another planet! It was nothing short of heartbreaking to see the cancellation of two CCA golf tournaments, countless family fundraisers, and to have most of our large sponsorships for Retreat pull support as the ripple effects of this pandemic took its toll on us. While this time has been beyond challenging, there are some incredibly beautiful silver linings to this year. The one I want to illuminate is how the pandemic gave us the opportunity to re-imagine (and fast) how we fundraise -- with the help of so many of you!

I am incredibly humbled by the efforts of our CCA community. From our amazing families, staff, board members to new incredible friends who wanted to give and found us during an extreme time of need. I would especially like to extend our thanks to these shining stars:

Early in this year we were able to get in two wonderful in person family fundraisers for CCA.

Lisa Bowers (please check out her feature on page xx to see all of her efforts!) partnered with Madelyn Karchut for her Senior Give Back project: a Spaghetti Dinner Night that raised over $7,000! Also, Liz and Nova Cox did an amazing job at securing CCA as the beneficiary for the 2020 Massachusetts State Breaking Championship, which raised over $5,000!

As the year went on, we saw other socially distanced “events” and fundraisers dreamed up to help us raise money. TheCCA Marketplace became a wonderful tool for us to find friends and families to profit share a portion of their sales back to CCA. Sue Giles led the way with her girlfriends Boon Supply Co. shopping event, Michele Gonzales sold Jayden’s hand drawn sugar skull stickers, Courtney Schmidt offered her One Hope Wine fundraiser, artist Julie Lyles pledged support with her original watercolor paintings, Allie Quinn and Jenny Sollymossy shared their Color Street businesses, Maigan Baker hosted a successful Cards for a Cause party, our Outreach Director, Khadija Moten, crafted vinyl decals and custom Starbucks cups via her Etsy shop, plus other companies are still helping us “shop for a cause” on an ongoing basis.

We’d also like to send a huge shoutout to Patricia Simon for investing in the CCA logo gaiters that we have been able to sell to help stop the spread of germs! We truly thank all of you who purchased from our Marketplace and webstore. Please take a look at our current offerings for great gifting options throughout this holiday season! So far, the CCA Marketplace has brought in nearly $5,000!

While some of us utilized retail therapy, some of you have been working on your “Quarantine Bodies” and got into the fitness craze. We are so thankful for the folks who hosted fitness fundraisers for CCA! URU Yoga in Pensacola, FL, and Tula Yoga, in Aberdeen, NJ both gave benefit yoga classes. Recently, Crystal Kouri taught kickboxing in the park to raise funds in honor of her son, PJ, and they were able to donate over $300 from their high intensity efforts.

Two amazing ladies, our Program Director, Annie Reeves, and Board Member, Kelly Cunha, went the extra mile and dug into their own personal networks to raise incredible amounts on behalf of their birthdays – together they raised almost $10,000!

Speaking of incredible Board Members, Bill Mecklenburg did not let the early effects of the pandemic halt his fundraising efforts one bit. I was blown away how his network, who usually give and participate in the annual Morgan Meck Match Play Invitational (MMI) golf tournament, gave and gave generously even after learning the event was canceled. In all, the 2020 MMI raised $70,271 and continues to see funds come in even as this letter went live. This amazing group of donors are loyal and a true testament of Bill’s love and hard work he does constantly for CCA.

Our board keeps delivering miracles, as Board Member, Steven Weiss, his wife, Petty Weiss, and his mother, Ellen Weiss, campaigned and delivered an incredible CAM fundraiser totaling over $16,000 in just a few weeks from their own network of generous friends and family. This is the type of giving that truly moves the needle for CCA. The Weiss family gathered all of this financial support via a completely zero cost “virtual” fundraiser. Even though we call this fundraiser a “virtual” one, we know that the time invested was real and significant and the work done by Petty and Ellen entailed phone calls, emails, and endless enthusiasm. Thank you, Weiss Family, for this spectacular job!

In addition to all the virtual activities CAM brought this year, we also had some of our CCA community do a special CAM month funder that generated amazing results, too. Thank you to our top fundraisers: Chrissy Clinton, Khadija Moten, Ray Merenstein, Dana Fernando, and Shannon Marie LaBarbera.

Thanks to the connective force of social media, we gained invaluable new friends. Manny Ventura ran with his handsome smile for the entire month of July for Cleft and Craniofacial awareness and raised over $12,000 for five different charities including CCA. He has grown into a big piece of our CCA virtual programming and we are grateful for his friendship. LaDarius Davis, too, became a certified Speakers Bureau member and a huge part of our outreach programming. For CAM, he and his sister, Ceairra Davis Fruster gave 50% back of a custom embroidered CCA facemask to CCA and raised over $400! Another amazing soul we have e-met is Chelsea Buyalos, who has become a beautiful champion of acceptance and has used her talented voice to do virtual benefit concerts on behalf of CCA. Speaking of music, thanks to Instagram we connected with the utterly talented Josh Daniel’s Band (check his feature on page xx) and with his nightly “Couch Tour” and raffle, hosted by 5 Points Realty and Briley Burris, he raised $22,050 for CCA!

A special friend to CCA is Master Gem Cutter, Denny Bradley. We have been the incredibly lucky to be the recipient of his beautiful gemstones and this year he donated an exclusive nearly 30-carat citrine necklace to be a part of our 2020 Ginger Town Holiday Fundraiser that will be up on our site soon! Speaking of Ginger Town, we cannot thank NorthPark Center’s RJ Reissig enough for working so hard to come up with a creative solution to our annual tradition and partnership with NorthPark. More info will be out soon, but RJ’s love for CCA has warmed our hearts up more than a tray of fresh gingerbread, just out of the oven.

Without you, this life-changing work would not be possible. Thank you for all the creative ways you have helped us in such a trying year. As we head into the “Giving Season,” we hope CCA remains at the top of your list to support. We are still feeling the heavy effects of a large dip in donations and the loss of our big fundraisers. Every gift truly counts. Help us end the year with the momentum to continue our amazing programs which so many of you love very much.


Christine Andler
Director of Development

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