Campaign’s success not a one-man show
By: By Don Leighton, For The Telegram, Superior Telegram
I have some good news and some great news!
Because of the number of food insecure people in Superior and Douglas County, three years ago, Hunger Takes No Holiday was born. During the first two years, Superior and Douglas County businesses, friends and neighbors contributed a total of $22,000. Donations were given to the Second Harvest Northern Lakes Food Bank in Duluth, which allowed them by buy $220,000 worth of food for nine nonprofit programs in Superior/ Douglas County. This provided 110,000 meals for those in need in our area. That is the good news.
Now for the great news! This year, because of incredible generosity and compassion for others, $31,000 was collected through donations of private citizens and businesses. Many events were held from late January through April that gave everyone an opportunity to help provide the most basic necessity of all, food, in the amount of $310,000, equaling 155,000 meals for Superior and Douglas County residents in need. Thank you readers for your incredible support.
Kicking off our campaign was a mystery dinner at Concordia Lutheran Church. Other fundraising events included a bake sale at Essentia Health in Superior, the Northwestern and Tony G 3-on-3 basketball tournaments, the Douglas County Fish and Game League Show. Lori Flynn’s computer expertise ensured we had raffle tickets, which contributed to our success. Then there was the Elks Club and Superior Jaycees, donation boxes at Superior High School and University of Wisconsin-Superior athletic events — not to mention outstanding efforts from high school students in Superior and Northwestern DECA. There was the early St. Patrick’s Day Fun Run held at O’Neill’s Pub, and finally, the second annual “Guess Who’s not Coming to Dinner” soiree at Concordia Lutheran Church.
As if these events did not provide reason to cheer, how about the two families who each donated $1000. I would love to write a story about each, but they want no fanfare and requested anonymity. Trust me when I say, they know what life is all about; looking at the big picture and caring for others. Matching donations from a retired Murphy Oil employee and a former British Petroleum employee were most generous.
A couple of events deserve special recognition. An event was held Groundhog Day at Grizzly’s in Superior. Because of the generosity of their managing partner, Rick Lampton, and his incredible young people, almost $2,000 was presented to us. Rick donated 15 percent of his food sales, and his wait staff donated 100 percent of their tips that day.
And what about the three Superior Super One Food Stores? What they did was mindboggling. For three weeks, a 4-inch cardboard empty plate was available for their customers to purchase. During that time, their customers purchased almost 1,200 plates. What incredible support. The store managers, Greg Kremer, Tom O’Neill and Tim Michalski of the downtown, Belknap, and East End stores, respectively, were excited to help. These gentlemen and their employees deserve all the thanks I can give. Special recognition is given to downtown store employees, Christine McKay who sold 241 empty plates and to the Queen of Empty Plates, Sandy Vabalaitis who sold an astounding 412.
The National Bank of Commerce and Paying Back More than Interest provided Shaye Moris and me three weeks of television airtime on KBJR and KDLH to tell our story. Shaye looked beautiful, but the camera added 150 pounds to me.
Our committee members had some incredible ideas. Without them, this could not have happened. Members include, Janna Stevens, Bruce Hagen, Charlie Glazman, Gary Banker, Curt Vandersteldt, Bruce Thompson, Tom O’Neill, Kent Phillips, Shaye Moris, Mary Fruehauf and Dave Minor. These people are incredible.
As mentioned earlier, Second Harvest Food Bank is our partner to see these donations are used in the most effective way. Our relationship with them is incredible and will continue next year with Hunger Takes No Holiday IV.
Speaking of Second Harvest, executive director and SHS and UWS graduate, Shaye Moris, has some thoughts on our efforts.
“Hunger Takes No Holiday reminds me of my favorite quote — ‘Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has,’ (Margaret Mead). When I met Don Leighton just three years ago (thanks to Dave Minor) I was amazed by his energy and enthusiasm for helping people in need and his desire to make a difference. Over the last three years, he’s rallied hundreds of Superior/Douglas County “thoughtful citizens” who are changing the world (one plate at a time). Thank you Don, the area businesses, organizations, and individuals who have made Hunger Takes No Holiday a success. It is because of all of you that we will rescue and distribute an amazing 200,000 pounds of food or 155,000 meals to Superior/Douglas County residents in need in the weeks and months ahead.”
Shaye is too kind in her praise for me. Without her and her staff and all the businesses and individuals who contributed, this would not have happened. You deserve all of the credit. For what you have done, I, Lance Boyle, BS, aka, Don Leighton, am giving you a standing ovation. See you next year.