This is the time of year when we all reflect on our own good fortune and really start thinking about friends, family, and how we can help others. At Lane’s Insurance we believe it’s always important to give to others when you are able–not just around the holidays. Lane’s recently donated $500 to help provide Gingerbread Dream Home Kits for children at the Ronald McDonald House (http://www.ahomeawayfromhome.org/southern.html) in Calgary, Alberta.
Local Hero Helping Children
Alannah, the baker behind the project, had been selling custom gingerbread house kits in her bakery for a few years, and they had always been a huge hit. In 2010 she sold her business, so she decided to put the ingredients she had on hand to good use by making some kits and delivering them to the Ronald McDonald House. The gesture was very well received that first year, so she decided to do it again in 2012.
This year the project really gained momentum. She collected $1500 in cash, equipment, and donated ingredients, which meant that at a cost of $15-20 per house, they were able to make ten times the gingerbread house kits she did two years ago. While Lane’s Insurance was the largest single donor, many others helped out. More than fifty people volunteered their time, including students at Banff Community High School who spent two classes rolling out gingerbread dough. Alannah was extremely surprised and humbled at the support she received.
Unfortunately, some businesses that had planned to contribute had to back out because Alannah couldn’t issue a tax receipt. “Issuing tax receipts was never part of my vision. It was always just about doing something important and good. To me there’s a bigger picture than just a tax receipt.” When businesses promised money and then withdrew support because they couldn’t get a receipt Alannah was frustrated but not disheartened. “This is something lots of people would do without batting an eye, and it can be discouraging when some corporations think only about what they can gain.”
Many people have asked her, why she doesn’t just donate money. She sees value in this project that goes beyond collecting cash. It is an opportunity to give back to the community and make a real difference in another’s life. “It was refreshing to see businesses that care about other people, not just about themselves,” she commented.
Alannah has talent, creativity, and heart to spare. She believes this year’s project was a really special way to give something that allowed people to come together, and take time out from their daily lives to create something that was special for other people. Together, everyone who was involved in this initiative created a unique memory. Even though there were some difficulties with an oven that wasn’t working the first night, she is very proud and happy with the outcome this year. Alannah said, “It was a very emotional experience delivering the finished Gingerbread kits to the Ronald McDonald house. As soon as they put the crafts in the room, one little boy started building right away. He was thrilled. That was such a beautiful thing to see.”
Lane’s Insurance Pitches In
When Chad Mullen at Lane’s Insurance heard what Alannah was doing, he knew he really wanted to help. “Anytime there is an opportunity to help children in need, I will do what I can. She dedicated so much time, energy, and creativity to create 150 gingerbread house kits for sick children. We need more of these genuine, loving people in the world. She certainly gave more than I did! Financial support was the least I could do, but I was sure happy to do it. I was so impressed with her selfless, creative attitude that I had to get on board with this amazing project. I feel fortunate that Lane’s Insurance is in a position to help financially, especially when it comes to children. Anything I (and others) can do to brighten up their Christmas season is an absolute must!”
Chad was there with Alannah when they delivered the Gingerbread Dream Home Kits to the Ronald McDonald House. He says, “It felt extremely rewarding to drop off the Gingerbread kits knowing that a child would have a much brighter Christmas because of what Alannah put into the project. I think that’s the ultimate thing – making kids smile!”
This project wasn’t just for the Ronald McDonald house. Sixty gingerbread house kits also went to the Banff Santa’s Anonymous program. As Alannah says, “There is a big split between the poor and rich in Banff that this project can benefit. We have a lot of immigrants who don’t speak English and work several jobs to support their families. Some of these people don’t have ovens. Some people can’t even afford heat in their homes.”
Alannah definitely plans to help out again next year. She says she would love to market the idea more to make an even bigger impact and maybe even do something for Easter. Everyone involved had a lot of fun, even if it was a little bit stressful. When asked if he would be willing to contribute to the project again, Chad Mullen said, “Absolutely! I would happily support Alannah with this project again and encourage others to do the same. Only next year, I would love to help both financially and from more of a hands-on perspective. Having the opportunity to have my own children involved in this project, helping build the gingerbread kits and delivering to the Ronald McDonald house, would be a very unique experience for them.”