This year has not been kind to nonprofits looking to make a difference.
June 5 would have been the 20th year anniversary for Relay for Life of Williamsburg. Kaye Vickerman, event chairwoman, said they had all kinds of plans to mark the occasion.
They even hired a band.
But when restrictions were set in place because of the coronavirus pandemic, Relay for Life of Williamsburg had to cancel yet another event that would have helped raise funds for the American Cancer Society.
Amy Ritchie, a volunteer for Relay for Life, said this year, the American Cancer Society lost more than $500 million in donations.
“Although fundraising has crawled to a stop, cancer hasn’t changed and the American Cancer Society is continuing to provide important services to cancer patients,” Ritchie wrote in an email. “And, the pandemic has been especially difficult for cancer patients who can’t get out to see friends and family, and in some cases had to delay much-needed treatments.”
But also like many nonprofits around the world, Relay for Life of Williamsburg came up with a creative solution to raise funds.
The group had planned to participate in the Virginia-Lights of Hope project organized by the American Cancer Society. The goal was to get persons to act as “team leaders” who would then recruit more people to put up luminescent signs in their yards to spread awareness and hope.
But with social distancing guidelines, the leadership team questioned how effective the event would be, Vickerman said.
That’s when she came up with a better idea.
“Instead of doing an evening event, scattered, let’s do it during the day in one area and call it ‘Field of Hope,’” Vickerman said.
People can buy signs dedicated to loved ones who have fought or are still fighting cancer. The signs would then be used to create a “Field of Hope” at Walsingham Academy, where people can drive through to honor those people. Parking will be available if people wish to get out of their car to sign.
Vickerman said the signs will be spaced out to comply with social distancing. Relay for Life will also have a canopy and banner set up.
There will also be an opportunity to buy raffle tickets to win a 2020 Mazda CX-30 or $20,000. The drawing will be live on Facebook on Dec. 9 at 12:30 p.m.
“The hope is that this event will bring our community together and give us a chance to raise some important funds for ACS,” Ritchie said.
The “Field of Hope” event will be on Sept. 27 from noon to 5 p.m. at Walsingham Academy. If you’d like to buy a blank sign, you can reach out to Kaye Vickerman at firstname.lastname@example.org or by visiting Relay for Life of Williamsburg’s Facebook page.
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