Giving, caring and expressing thanks – for two local groups wanting to help others, that’s what Valentine’s Day is all about.
The women of the Leesburg United Methodist Church arrived at The Birthing Inn at Inova Loudoun Hospital today with their annual spread of baked items and healthy snacks to thank the hospital employees for their hard work.
“We’ve been doing this since the late ‘90s. We do this just to show our appreciation to the hospital,” said church member Nancy Wolford.
The ladies arrived with coffee, tea, hot chocolate, fruit, homemade cookies and other healthy snacks for the staff of The Birthing Inn.
“It’s fun! We divide up the work,” said Betsy Creamer, another member of Leesburg UMC.
Selecting a different department each year, the women try to share their appreciation for the staff throughout the hospital. And the Inova Loudoun staff is grateful for all that the ladies have done to support the hospital.
“They have worked hard over the years to be very supportive of our hospital and staff,“ said Inova Loudoun Hospital Chaplain Virginia Moore.
Another group working to help others, The Bows for Belmont Ridge, are a group of sixth grade students at Belmont Ridge Middle School who want to find a way to help fellow students in need.
They began their project during Christmas when they learned of three Belmont Ridge families who were in need of assistance. The girls came up with the idea to go door to door and offer to decorate mailboxes with holiday decor to raise money for the families.
“After they surpassed their goal of $1,000, raising $1,639 in December, they realized that they wanted to do more”, said Tracy Bongianino, parent organizer for the Bows.
“The parent liaison at school thought we would raise about $50 when we set out on our first fundraiser,” said Alyssa Gordon, a member of the group. “She started crying when she heard we had raised so much money.”
So for Valentine’s Day, they decided to sell cupcakes and roses, going door-to-door in their neighborhoods with flyers, taking advance orders. After learning some icing techniques at Chantel’s Bakery, the girls made and decorated the cupcakes themselves.
They sold 318 cupcakes and 22 dozen roses, raising $1,477. The money will again be given to fellow students in need, deciding where it should go through a parent liaison director at the school.
McKenna Ullsperger said the group is hoping to do a family fun walk and barbecue event in the summer, and looks forward to raising more money to help others. Nikki Bongianino added that they want to keep this going through high school and do a different type of fundraiser each time.
The girls realize the importance of helping people locally.
“It feels really good to help fellow classmates, and helps us understand that we need to be grateful for what we have,” said Lauren Mandrgoc, one of the Bows.