NORTHWEST LOUISIANA (KSLA) - Participants in a highly-successful fundraising campaign for the ArkLaTex’s Children’s Miracle Network Hospital had to think outside the box to raise awareness while staying safe from COVID-19.
For many children, their medical needs don’t hit pause during a pandemic.
This time of year is typically when Walmart and Sam’s Club stores raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for Children’s Miracle Network hospitals — including CHRISTUS Shreveport-Bossier. The in-store campaign lasts through July 18.
Typically when you walk into a Walmart or Sam’s Club, you’ll see cashiers doing push-ups or wearing flashy hats and boas, carrying a bucket asking for loose change to go towards our kids in need.
However, this summer, stores were forced to come up with different ways to inspire donations other than the norm.
For Minden Walmart Store Manager Chris Priestly, he has taken the challenge personally and you could say he’s a little competitive. His store has raised the most funds for our area Children’s Miracle Network hospital for 16 of the past 17 years.
“I think we refocused. We were in the lead until the very last day of the campaign. So we refocused to make sure we finished strong,” Priestly said. “This is my favorite thing to do. The Lord blessed me with five healthy children. So I really embrace this because you see what these families go through and CHRISTUS is such a great partner with us, the services and programs that they provide for the community. This is absolutely my favorite thing to do every year.”
Priestly said his store stopped using past tactics to raise money due to the virus. Instead, they got creative and made a teddy bear out of tires that sits in the front of the store so people can drop change into a bucket.
This year, his store has a lofty goal of $10,000.
Across the Red River, Dawn Lafitte runs the Walmart in Blanchard.
She said her team has already met its goal for the campaign, so they’re pushing to double or triple it. COVID transformed her store’s ways of raising money as well in more ways than one.
"We've got one associate that's actually making some CMN masks. They're really neat. You can see this one I have on and it has CMN on there. Store 6932 which is our store. She has went around, and all of these are already bought. She is donating her time and the fabric to make these masks for our associates and customers. We have several of them that she has made and they are just really darling."
Lafitte said the associate who makes the masks has had family directly impacted by Children’s Miracle Network — which made those creations even more meaningful.