Supporting Children One Balloon at a Time
Local Costco locations raise $83,107 for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals
September 8, 2016
Twenty-one years ago, Marc Cibellis and Joanie Robertson began supporting Children’s Miracle Network (CMN) Hospitals through Costco’s annual Miracle Balloon Campaign. Since 1988, Costco’s 653 locations have raised more than $225 million through the springtime campaign where members make donations for paper balloons that are displayed throughout the stores. This year, Costco’s two Richmond-area stores collected $83,107 from Miracle Balloon sales, a business banner program and individual events including a spaghetti lunch and bake sale organized by Joanie, who began her Costco career as a cake decorator.
“It’s important for our community to pull together to help others,” said Joanie who works as the membership manager at Costco’s Chesterfield store. “I always pour my heart into helping CMN.”
Following a suggestion from her assistant manager, Joanie spent a day baking 625 cupcakes, which she packaged and sold to co-workers. In addition to raising more than $600 from cupcake sales, Joanie spent more than eight hours preparing a spaghetti lunch that collected another $452.
“I have three beautiful grandchildren who I hope never need Children’s Hospital,” said Joanie, who also participates in the hospital’s annual Teddy Bear Run with her husband and son. “But if they do, I’m glad we have Children’s Hospital.”
Across town at Costco’s West End location, store manager Marc said his 244 employees are excited to participate in the company’s only fundraising campaign.
“They know how important it is for the Children’s Hospital,” Marc commented, “so they are willing to make the entire month a success.”
For the last few years, Costco has been reaching out to local businesses to join the charitable effort. For a $200 donation, businesses advertise on banners that are displayed at the store in May. Business interest has increased each year, and in 2016, Costco’s banner program raised $14,000 from Richmond’s two stores.
“It has always been fascinating to see the increase from year to year with the amount of money being generated by employees and members,” Marc said. “The employees and members have such a special relationship and asking for donations has become very easy over the years. Knowing that all the money is being donated to the local hospital makes it that much more special.”