Chapter Creates New Toddler Park

In a little over a year and a half, the MOMS Club of Paris, KY, raised money and built a toddler area at their county park. The process started in October, 2001, and the last piece of equipment will be installed in a few weeks. The project was a great example of what a focused chapter can accomplish!

Their first fundraiser was a booth at their local Pumpkin Festival. They set up a table with balloons, suckers (decorated like ghosts) and five handmade items (baskets, a framed print, a wreath) to raffle off. They gave away the suckers and balloons, and just asked if the visitors could give a little donation (into a fish bowl). The raffle was $1 a try and participants just dropped a ticket into a bag next to the item they wanted to try for. The chapter raised $310 in one day!

The next thing the chapter did was mail out over 400 donation-request letters to the businesses and farms in the community. This cost about $175 and brought in a little over $700. By the time this project was completed, it was the holiday season, so they postponed their next project until after the New Year.

In February, they planned a Spaghetti Supper for a Saturday evening, and gathered items for another raffle to be drawn after the supper. All told, they had about 13 items in the raffle. Again, they decided to allow the ticket buyer to pick which item they wanted to try for. This time, they made up a sheet with the items numbered and when a ticket was sold, the number of the prize was written on the ticket. Again, the raffle tickets sold for $1 each. A few weeks before the Spaghetti supper, they set up a table to sell tickets one day at their community’s Wal-Mart and at a local grocery the next weekend. They raised almost $500 during those two weekends. Another bonus to setting up at Wal-Mart, was that Wal-Mart matched the money they raised there. The members of the chapter also had tickets to sell to their friends and family.

The day of the Spaghetti Supper was a real family event! They had entertainment set up for the whole night, although the opening had to be set back when the first scheduled entertainer, provided by Kindermusik, had to cancel at the last minute due to illness. Instead, the event opened a little later as a local children’s librarian told stories, followed by two Musik Garten classes. “Carnegie The Clown” came in next, making balloon animals and performing tricks. In addition to the entertainment , there were also three booths set up the whole night: for Schwan’s Foods, a new daycare and a scrapbook store.

Everyone in the Club worked or donated to the supper. They had to buy some of the food, but a lot of it was donated. Schwan’s donated the meatballs and garlic cheese biscuits. The members baked cookies for the dessert. They charged $5 for adults and $3 for children, for a meal including a salad, spaghetti and meatballs, bread, dessert and drink. They had the raffle table set up, and sold some crafts they had all made. In the end, they raised $1,500 that night! Only about $500 came from the dinner sales; the rest was from the raffle and craft sales.

After the Spaghetti supper, the members were all very excited and very tired, so again they took a little break from fundraising. During the hiatus, their president called a few of the banks in town that had not responded to their fundraising letters yet, and some of them sent in checks.

The next project was at their County Fair. They set up a raffle and a snow cone machine there. The snow cone machine and supplies cost about $200. They also had two baskets to raffle, including a “men’s basket,” full of manly-type items, and a “woman’s basket,” full of things the ladies might like. The members were at the Fair every night for a week and raised about $400, half of which went to pay for the supplies. Although the project made money, the chapter decided the amount of effort was too great for the outcome, so they decided not to do that project again in the future.

Then in the fall, the chapter did the Pumpkin Festival again with a couple of items to raffle and a bake sale. That project brought in $283. While they were there, they handed out coupons for Papa John’s Pizza and set up a fundraiser with them for the week after the festival. The chapter got
a percentage of the pizza sales for one night if the customer mentioned our club name. The pizza night raised another $208.

By then, the chapter was very close to being able to purchase some of the equipment, so they got on the phone again, and that effort drew in a few more donations — enough to install the first play structures!

The first Saturday in April, 2003, they installed their first play structure and swing set! It was freezing weather and when they started putting the structures together, they discovered they were missing parts! Their advice after that experience? “Pay for the installation!” In the end, the company did come out later to take care of all the missing parts and little problems discovered during the installation.

But the chapter wasn’t done yet! A Club yard sale was the next project. They gathered all their “stuff” and anybody else’s they could rustle up, and set it out to sell on a weekend in May. They raised $800! The leftovers went to the Salvation Army and their local multicultural outreach program! Three service projects in one!

Today, the chapter is ready to finish off the project with the purchase of a couple of spring-rider toys. All in all, an incredible accomplishment for a chapter with only a couple dozen or so ladies!

Bourbonpark

The chapter shares these tips for anyone considering a similar project:

* At every event, we had pictures of the equipment we wanted to purchase to inspire the donors;

* We put articles in the local paper before the events, so everyone would know what we were doing, when and where;

* Every donor was recognized by in the newspaper, both to thank them and to inspire others to donate;

* And, all the raffle items were donated, so the only cost for the raffles was the raffle tickets themselves.

(Editor’s Note for chapters in other states: Some states ban or restrict raffles. Some states require special permits before a chapter may conduct a raffle. If you have any questions about raffles in your area, contact your Regional Coordinator.)

— MOMS Club of Paris, KY

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