Tuesday, August 16, 2011

We Be Jammin'

A couple of weeks ago we had only a vague idea of how we wanted to get started with our fundraising efforts. We had a growing pile of stuff in the family room, which was earmarked for a garage sale, and some artwork that Rachel had done, which was unique and interesting.

So, I took the artwork, which was in the form of two largish paintings, to a local blueprint company, and had them use their big scanner to make digital images, and put them on a CD for me. Good start, but what now? Hmmm. I decided to just think on it, and move on to the next thing.

In the meantime, we got the go-ahead to begin fundraising from Paws, so my friend and service dog mentor, Cindy Mitchell started promoting the custom cosmetic bags she'd designed, and I decided to make jam.

Rachel and I hit a nearby berry farm, and picked 17 pounds of berries, then visited Bi-Mart for jars and pectin. Another visit to the grocery store for sugar, and we were off. I had never made jam by myself before, so there was some consultation with Mom, and then I took a deep breath and fired up the blender.

When the first batch was done, I had 9 little jars, and asked Rachel to taste the result for me. She was so happy with it that I needed a picture of her eating it, and I thought that would be a cute picture for the labels. This is what we ended up with...

Wanting something catchy and memorable for the name, Rach helped me choose Rachel's Raise the Woof Marionberry Jam. I got to work making more jam, and Rach helped get the labels on.

Before the jam had cooled, Cindy was asking for 4 jars, and then word got out, and we needed more berries. Rachel and I picked 13 more pounds, and got to work.

Brett went to work with a couple of jars one day, and a few more the next day. The day after that, he took a flat, and then asked me to bring out 2 more. I had 21 jars not spoken for, so took them out, and helped take 12 of them into the office, where we got to say thanks in person to several of the folks who bought the jam. 

This time Brett went with us to the berry farm, and we picked another 13 pounds. In doing the math, I calculated that we canned 117 jars of jam. I now have 20 jars available for sale, and fully expect them to be gone before the garage sale we're having this weekend. I am overwhelmed and grateful for all of the people who bought the jam, and can't believe the excitement that a homely jar of jam could generate.

Our friends at Redbuilt really came through for us, and we can't thank them enough. In addition to cash for the jam, there was more than one outright, and very generous, cash donation. Thank you all so much.

In addition to the many, many sales to Redbuilt associates and their families and friends, we have had friends from ebay, the epilepsy foundation, and my arthritis support community wanting to help us out. We really are blessed to have such a fantastic network of support.

The artwork Rachel did has been transformed into greeting cards, which are still at the printer, but will be finished soon, and we hope to sell those at the garage sale, and will be available to anyone else who might want them, too. Watch this space for more info.;)


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