Main photo: The Hospice Huntsville purple boot campaign kicked off at the Nutty Chocolatier on March 12, 2020 with (from left) Scott Winchester, Sheila Petch, store owner Nancy Wenger, Lynda Griffin, June Banks, Marg Winchester (a.k.a the purple boot granny), Sherry Vey, and (in front) Melissa Polischuk. (Dawn Huddlestone)
The Nutty Chocolatier helped Hospice Huntsville kick off its annual purple boot campaign—which is part of the organization’s Hike for Hospice fundraiser—in style on Thursday, March 12, 2020.
Surrounded by purple ribbons and purple-clad volunteers, store owner Nancy Wenger presented a cheque for $1,500 to Melissa Polischuk, fund development and public relations coordinator with Hospice Huntsville to launch the campaign.
When customers at the Nutty Chocolatier want to leave a little something behind, their contributions are placed in a donation jar and several times a year the staff decide where to donate what has accumulated. “They mostly go to Hospice, Huntsville Hospital, or community friends who have big surgeries coming up or something like that,” said store owner, Nancy Wenger. “For years we’ve been supporters of Hospice, and especially Hike for Hospice.”
The Nutty Chocolatier will of course have a purple boot prominently displayed. And to help raise awareness and donations, they have also brought in a special treat.
“We have a purple ice cream from Kawartha Dairy which we renamed ‘Purple Passion’ for Hospice,” said Wenger. “We’re going to run that for the month of March and every time somebody buys a Purple Passion ice cream we’ll donate one dollar for every purchase right into the boot.”
The boots began as an awareness-raiser for Hike for Hospice, said Marg Winchester—a.k.a. the purple boot granny, because she’s the volunteer who coordinates the campaign—and very quickly became a big part of the event’s fundraising.
“People started putting money in the boots whenever they were around town, and it’s become a huge fundraiser,” she said. Last year, the boots contributed $7,000 toward the overall Hike for Hospice fundraising goal.
There will be 41 boots in local stores this year—both in Huntsville and in surrounding communities. Most have them in the month or so leading up to Hike for Hospice, and a few keep them displayed year-round.
“Stores are excited when they come back,” said Winchester. “It’s really nice to have businesses supporting us like that.”
The Hike will be held on Sunday, May 3 at River Mill Park—rain or shine— and new this year there will be buskers stationed along the route.
This year’s Hike for Hospice overall fundraising goal is $60,000.
“We need the support of the community once again, and we’re so grateful for all their support,” said Melissa Polischuk, fund development and public relations coordinator for Hospice Huntsville. “It’s essential because we’ve got to raise 60 per cent of our operating budget each year to keep all of our programs and services completely free of charge.”
For more information about Hospice Huntsville and Hike for Hospice, visit hospicehuntsville.com.
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