Back in March of this year I was going through some hard personal family trials. One thing led to another and I decided that in order to help myself heal and others, that I would plan a fundraiser for Operation Underground Railroad. I had initially heard about them on the Glenn Beck Program when they were raising funds to get started. At that time I was so excited to see that a group of people were so passionate about a wonderful cause. At that time, they were not official . Glenn Beck had done a second interview after a few of their rescue missions and thanked his audience for helping to raise the initial 1 million dollars needed. At that time I did think to myself that I would love to help in this but was not sure how. Once the Operation Underground Railroad website had a link to start your own campaign to raise funds, I knew I had to do something.
What started as a simple yard sale in my yard, ended up being an entire community event here in Springville , Utah. With the help of 10 committee members, and most especially my friend and Relief Society President, Linda Hutchings, we were able to get the support of our ward, and several wards in our Stake here. They even collected donations in the local congregations! Linda and I called for 10 committees , and in the end had around 250 volunteers to help on event day. We had more than 40 local business's contribute cash and donations for the event. It was utterly amazing. We planned for 3 months and it was a success. Even though the forecast for that day was rain, I knew that we had worked hard and it could not rain that day. With two moving trucks full of donations for the yard sale, a full schedule of free entertainment ( fiddlers, a children's choir, juggler, and much much more ) $4,500 raised in the bake sale alone, I could not have been happier that all our planning paid off. As for the rain, it literally rained all over the surrounding area, Provo, Orem, American Fork, Spanish Fork, and Payson. However, directly above our event, the sky was clear! Dark clouds loomed all morning but at 1 pm, when we had decided to end the event, the rain came and we were able to clean up just in time. I was so grateful for Doug Osmond , several volunteers from the Salt Lake Office and from all throughout the community came to volunteer their time that day. The Boy Scouts, The Anti-Human Trafficking Club at BYU, so many people helped. All in all we raised around $7,000. I have no doubt we could have doubled that had the weather cooperated, but I was very happy with the results. After that event , I was able to help the organizers of a similar event up in Ogden , Utah, where they were able to raise $11,000! Within a month, I decided that I would continue to plan fundraisers for Operation Underground Railroad . We have held events at Carrabba's Italian Grill, Jakers Pumpkin Patch ( where we raised $1,300 selling baked goods and water ) and last week selling t-shirts at a BYU screening of The Abolitionist , raising an additional $630.00 ! At that event I was able to gather 25 more names of those who are interested in helping with future fundraisers ( I hope to plan monthly events ) I now have 35 willing volunteers to help and am very excited for what we will be able to accomplish!