Save and Serve, Rails-to-Trails join for fundraiser

Save and Serve, Rails-to-Trails join for fundraiser

Image Credit: Dave Mast

It’s always wonderful to see local nonprofit organizations reaching out into the community to provide valuable services, but when they unite with others to build relationships and create fundraising opportunities that will bless people, it makes their effort more exciting.

On Saturday, April 30, volunteers from the Holmes County Rails-to-Trails and Holmes County Park District boards visited Save & Serve Thrift Shop in Millersburg and got to work behind the counter as part of a day designed to benefit the trail.

The idea for Save & Serve to donate all sales during a specific day began a couple years ago during the pandemic when the Save & Serve board felt it wanted to create a way to better serve community nonprofits.

While many know about Save & Serve’s dedication to raising money in support of missions all around the world, it also has done a wonderful job of helping local organizations meet area needs.

Co-manager Eric Raber said the day was a success, noting several early sales of a few large-sale items set the stage for a big day with every penny people spent during the day going to the trail’s general fund.

“We are so pleased to have another benefit day,” Raber said. “It is something Save & Serve has really enjoyed the last couple of years. We love being involved with the community and partnering with local nonprofit organizations and ministries.”

While the shop donated funds prior to this year, recent events have seen them invite members from the various organizations to come and serve behind the counter as cashiers and baggers. Raber said that has been a fun addition in connecting Save & Serve with the various organizations and its members.

“With the onset of COVID, we realized it was very important to invest in community and the many local organizations as well as serving globally,” Raber said.

In the past Save & Serve has teamed up with Love INC of Greater Holmes County, H15 Ministries, Young Life, Holmes County Hospice and other organizations. Raber said they have created these benefit days on a quarterly basis, using the fifth Saturday of every month.

In addition, Raber said Save & Serve also provides grant opportunities to local missions as part of its effort to connect and serve within the community. He said making these types of connections is something the Save & Serve board and staff enjoy because it develops a sense of serving one another in their respective missions.

The Rails-to-Trails board agreed with that assessment.

“It’s very important for us to be able to team up and develop partnerships like this throughout the community,” said Jen Halverson, Holmes County Park District director. “We are so appreciative of the support from Save & Serve. They do great things here, and they are such an important part of our community, and seeing them reciprocate that appreciation for what we do and to experience this kind of support from them is amazing. This is a win-win for everyone.”

Trail board members and their spouses came in to volunteer beginning at the opening moment, actually coming in early to learn the task of operating the cash register and welcoming shoppers to the store.

The crew that volunteered included Halverson, trail board members Tom Alexander and Mike Taylor and his wife Cindy, Tom and Lori Vaughn, and park board members Irene Burgett and Dan Mathie. Halverson said the crew at Save & Serve has the procedure down so much they were able to make the tutorial part of the day an easy one.

“It was a really great experience for all of us,” Halverson said. “It went really fast, and we had a good time serving others.”

Then the doors opened, and it was another busy day at Save & Serve that went by the books. Raber said nobody would be the wiser that newcomers were behind the cash registers and taking care of the floor.

Halverson said it was an opportunity for the board members to connect with community members who visited and shopped at the store, an opportunity that allowed people to ask questions and to share their thoughts on the trail and park district and for the board members to talk about the things each organization has done and some of their upcoming endeavors.

“The fundraising was the key, but it was just as exciting for us to be out there sharing with the community,” Halverson said.

One of the things Save & Serve stipulated through the event was all of the proceeds go directly back into the Rails-to-Trails fund, which provides for the ongoing care of the trail.

Halverson said there was an upcoming repair project on tap, and these funds would go a long way toward paying for that project. She said additional funding from the event could go toward the ongoing trail extension near Glenmont.

“It will most definitely be put to good use,” Halverson said of the funds raised.

Rails-to-Trails board member Mike Taylor said these types of opportunities are something that create benefits beyond just the money.

“What an incredible day,” Taylor said. “We have our auction that raises funds, but throughout the year donations like this are very big, and special projects that need support crop up, and these events are incredibly valuable. But more importantly, seeing this kind of support and connecting with the community is huge, and it is nice to see our community and organizations like Save & Serve recognizing everything we do and what we are all about.”

Holmes County Rails-to-Trails also is excited about the return of its upcoming annual auction fundraiser, which will take place Saturday, June 11 at Hipp Station in Millersburg.


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