The goal was simple: Host a gingerbread house competition to support Make-A-Wish Eastern NC. The planning and execution? Well, that took some work, but with the help of some friends and an amazing, tight-knit community we made it work all within two weeks notice… and boy, was it worth it!
A little back story for you- It’s never been a huge family tradition to make gingerbread houses and, frankly, I never really had the time to think about it (or so I thought…)!
Katie is a special person. Her kind heart, determination and positive attitude was contagious when I met her during one of my reporting shifts. So, we kept in touch.
This year, she came up with the brilliant idea to host a gingerbread house competition in order to benefit my WISH Champion campaign for Make-A-Wish. It would be an event for all ages; something to get everyone in the Christmas spirit!
Once Janis Netherland with the local Make-A-Wish chapter heard of our idea, she kicked me into planning mode and off we went…never looking back… with less than a month to brainstorm!
My WISH Campaign goal is $7,500 which is the average cost of one wish. These wishes make the world better and they help brighten a world of a child fighting a life-threatening medical condition.
Personally, I strive to spread the smiles in every aspect of my life. After working with several local with children and their families in Wilmington, I knew Make-A-Wish was one way I wanted to give back- to help grant other wishes.
“Gingerbread Wishes” was born one night inside a Port City Java. Four women, including myself, sat for hours and brainstormed the perfect event with all of the bells and whistles. However, many pieces were missing:
- Where do we host it?
- How do we get enough money for cookies?
- How will we advertise?
- Who can help with prizes for winners?
Well, even though we had our doubts, all of those questions seemed to work themselves out. After talking with local businesses and other people in the community, it was incredible to see just HOW MUCH everyone wanted to GIVE!
My heart was bursting with happiness. “Gingerbread Wishes” was happening!
The entries started trickling in as cookies for decorating, signs for advertising and a storefront in the mall were all donated. Happy, happy me!
Then, I wondered… I hope people show up… I hope people don’t think this is silly… I hope this is all worth it!
Now, I think… What was I worried about? Wilmington always pulls through!
Over $2,000 was donated in just three days. Hundreds of children decorated cookies, voted for their favorite gingerbread house and danced to Christmas music in our little storefront. And every parent that walked out of “Gingerbread Wishes” that week thanked me.
The most exhausting couple of weeks was worth every single second – every ounce of sleep I lost, every minute my back ached, every time someone turned me down for a donation (tough crowd, ya know!), every giggle I heard from the kids making memories with family and every penny that was put into the donation jar from December 15 through December 17.
If this is what it takes to spread the smiles… and to help bring some happiness into a child’s life that has been overcome by cancer… then yes… it’s ALL worth it. Every bit of it!
Thank you to everyone who chipped in for our first “Gingerbread Wishes.” Maybe next year we can make this even bigger, better and help grant even more wishes. I can tell you Katie is already sending me ideas! 😉
This wouldn’t have been possible without the support from the Wilmington community.
Cheers… to granting wishes!
Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays!