Category Archives: Charities

A Sister, a steer, and the need for some cash…

It’s time. This Saturday (Feb. 15th) marks the date of the 38th annual Steer Dinner at Avila University. This steak dinner and silent auction supports the legacy of Sister Olive Louise Dallavis, the S.O.L.D Fund. Funds raised through the dinner and auction are used to generate scholarships for Avila University students in need.

The first Steer Dinner was hosted in 1977 in the school cafeteria. It all started when a group of local business men purchased Jimmy C (short for Jimmy Carter), an American Royal Grand Champion Steer. Those gentlemen then donated the enormous steer to Sister Olive Louise, then president of Avila University. Needing to turn the gift of Jimmy C into cash, she decided to put together a steak dinner in the modestly decorated cafeteria. The event has grown tremendously since the first dinner, and has raised more than $6 million in scholarship monies.

This year, the event will be hosted at the Kansas City Marriott Downtown. The honorary chairpersons are Dave and Geri Frantze and the event chairpersons are Kenneth and Marilyn Hager. If you are interested in attending, tickets are $250 ($100 for faculty/staff and recent alumni) and $2500 to sponsor a table (10 seats). Sponsorships are also available at varying dollar amounts. Sponsorship and Table hosts will be receive recognition in the event program as well as on the Steer Dinner website.

If you would like further information please visit the Steer Dinner website, here. If you would like to register for the event please head over here.

Oh! We do have one last piece of “memorabilia” from the first dinner:

Meet Jimmy C!

This is the hide of the beast that started it all. Currently he resides in the archives at Hooley-Bundschu Library.


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Jingle Bells and Little Red Kettles

The Salvation Army. One of the biggest and most widely known charities in the United States, and, quite possibly, the world. Every year, usually about mid-November the little red kettles appear the the bell ringing begins. If you’re like me, you donate on occasion…usually when you’ve just paid cash at whatever establishment they are jingling outside of. Have you ever thought about volunteering to be a bell ringing? Have you ever wondered what the Salvation Army is all about or, perhaps, where your donations go? Well, you’re about to find out!

The History: The Salvation Army began in 1865 by William Booth, a London minister, who wished to take his message to the streets so it would reach the poor, the homeless, the hungry, and the destitute. When he discovered the disquiet caused by the disheveled joining services with the prim and proper he found a church especially for the destitute–the East London Christian Mission. The name of the Salvation Army was born of the church’s mission in which they described the mission as a: salvation army.

The Now: The Salvation Army has, obviously, grown in strength and numbers in 148 years. It is now an international movement run by General Andre Cox, providing hundreds of programs and services to those in need. The most noticeable of its efforts are the cooperative projects with international relief agencies (providing food, water, basic needs, etc to victims of natural disasters, genocide, lack of resources, etc.) and providing provisions, housing, and basic daily needs to people in need. In addition, the “Army” provides addiction counseling and family tracing for those looking to located relatives with whom they’ve lost contact. As a part of it’s christian mission, the Salvation Army, uses sports and social work to build relationships, find connections, and “help the people and communities to enjoy healthy lives in bodies, minds, and souls.”

Where Your Money Goes: According to the Salvation Army website, $0.84 of each dollar donated “is used to sustain life changing programs that bring hope to hurting souls”. The breakdown shows that 84% goes to programs & services, 6% to administration, and 10% to fundraising. The Salvation Army relies on the community’s support for many of it’s programs, and claim that the “Army” receives more financial support from the general public than any other charity in America.  All funds and gifts are used in the donor’s region unless the donor requests something different, and the donor may designate which programs/services receive the donation.

I Want To Ring The Bell: If you are interested in ringing the bell, volunteers are always appreciated. You can sign up at your local Salvation Army or on your regional Salvation Army’s website (KC area ringers can sign up here).  The Salvation Army also hires bell ringers for all day assignments–these are usually people trying to make ends meet but still want to give back to their community.

Want To Donate?: If you are interested in donating to the Salvation Army you can do so at anytime on their website or your regional Salvation Army’s website. You can also use the regional website to locate donation centers and kettle locations in your area.

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Toys for Tots

Around this time of year we are hearing all kinds of commercials about what to give your friends, family, and children for Christmas and about all of these “wonderful” sales that “X” store has going on, but every now and then you’ll hear someone say “‘Tis the season of giving”. For this post and the next I’m going to offer up some information about two of the Christmas season favorites when it comes to charity: Toys for Tots and the Salvation Army.

Today, we’ll cover Toys for Tots. You’ve probably seen the cardboard “Toys for Tots” boxes around some of your favorite businesses and organizations (the library has two!) and watched them slowly will with toys. The basic premise of the ‘charity’ is to collect toys and books which will be distributed as a message of hope to less fortunate children for Christmas. Toys for Tots was started in 1947 by Major Bill Hendricks (USMCR) in Los Angeles, CA. In that first year he was able to collect 5,000 toys, the first of which was a handmade doll. The following year, Toys for Tots was adopted by the US Marine Corps and expanded it into a nationwide community action project. A few years later the Toys for Tots Foundation was born, and now works in conjunction with the USMC Toys for Tots as, for all intents and purposes, it’s business office. In recent years, they have added a new program to the “for Tots” line; now you can donate your old vehicles (running or not) to the “Cars for Tots” program, which benefits Toys for Tots. Further information is available about this on the Toys for Tots website.

The popularity of the program grows each year and it has seen its fair share of famous folks as the spokesperson, including a few first ladies, John Wayne, Bob Hope, Clint Eastwood, and Tim Allen…to name just a few. Even the, now famous, train logo was created by Walt Disney. In terms of numbers, by the end of the 2012 campaign Toys for Tots had collected nearly 16.8 million toys which were distributed to more than 7 million underprivileged children.

Accolades: As of 2012, Toys for Tots, has spent 11 consecutive years on the Philanthropy 400, with a current standing of #70. Toys for Tots continues to be considered an accredited charity by the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance.

Toys for Tots serves the main 50 United States as well as Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia, collecting and delivering toys to underprivileged children each Christmas. Each year there are about 700 communities hosting a Toys for Tots Campaign, which is run by one individual who is a Marine (current or retired), a member of a Marine Corps League Detachment, or a member of a local community organization. Toy collection begins as early as October and ends around mid or late December. Collection boxes are placed throughout the community and community members are asked to donate new and unwrapped (no wrapping paper) toys which will later be collected, wrapped by campaign volunteers, and distributed to the children who are in need. To determine if a child will need this extra Christmas hope, Toys for Tots organizers develop working relationships with schools, churches, local charities, and any other organization which are qualified to identify needy children. Additionally, you can request a toy on the Toys for Tots website.

In addition to delivering to the needy children of the US, Toys for Tots also serves the Native American community. The Toys for Tots Native American Program moves some toys and donations out of the collection area (Usually only in California) and reaches out (with the donations) to the disadvantaged Native American children on their Reservations. In 2012, over 177,000 toys were distributed to over 78,000 Native American children in Reservations throughout the United States.

The Toys for Tots campaigns have been so successful in their mission that they have partnered with the UPS Store to create the “Toys for Tots Literacy Program”. The programs mission is “to offer our nation’s most economically disadvantaged children the ability to compete academically and to succeed in life by providing them direct access to resources that will enhance their ability to read and to communicate effectively. They primarily take monetary donations, which help to place books in the hands of the economically downtrodden.

If you are interested in donating, Toys for Tots asks for new and unwrapped (as in, no wrapping paper) toys and books for children of all ages (they serve children from infant to about 16–ages depend on area and availability of gifts). You can place these in boxes scattered throughout your community. To located a box near you, click here. They also take monetary donations and are now offering the option to donate “in honor” or “in memory” of someone. To learn more or donate money, click here. Avila University does participate in the Toys for Tots program, and there are boxes scattered throughout campus for donations; here, at Hooley-Bundschu Library, there are two boxes situated around the Circulation Desk.

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