Supporter Spotlight: Mary Vazquez

This week in our supporter spotlight we are featuring Mary Vazquez. Mary has been a part of e3 since the beginning. Last year she began her Garland Fundraiser; where she and volunteers make Christmas light garlands to sell with all proceeds going to e3kids. Last year’s Garland Fundraiser was so successful that Mary is doing it again this year! I had the privilege to sit down and talk with her about her involvement with e3 as well as her Garland Project.

e3kids: How did you hear about and get involved with e3kids?

Mary: I actually heard about e3kids through JoEllen’s mother. She told me about the organization and what they were doing, and I knew I wanted to help out. I first got involved with their first event, which was a River Float on the Rappahannock River. JoEllen’s mother asked if I wanted to help volunteer; so I helped them collect money from the tubers.

e3kids: So you have been working with e3kids for about 4 years now. What all have you done for them?

Mary: I work with a group of high school girls, and I was inspired by our youth pastor at our Church to do a service project with my girls. I  approached JoEllen and asked if she needed any help in the office. So myself and my high school girls started volunteering in the office once a week for about 3 hours. We would do inventory, price the items, tag product, and send out any mailed advertisement. We helped out once a week for a whole year, and from that some of my girls still come in and volunteer. Currently, I am on the board and have served as a member for two years. I also come in and still help out with office work once a week for a few hours.

e3kids: Another way that you have recently been able to help is through your Garland Fundraiser. Can you tell us more about it and how it all got started?

Mary: I started this project in October 2013. I was actually looking for another service project to do with my group of high school girls. They loved volunteering in the e3kids office so much they were actually asking me for another project they could do, which would also help e3kids. I then remembered my one friend had made me a garland for Christmas the previous year, and I loved it so much that I wanted to learn how to make them. I strongly believe that you should use what you have to help others. I absolutely love fabric and I knew I had a lot of Christmas fabric, which you need to make these garlands, so I decided to try to make them. It was a learning process, I quickly realized I didn’t have enough fabric but I learned where to get the prettiest fabric, as well as how much I would need to make one strand. I’ve also been blessed to have so many volunteers helps me to make these garlands, since each takes about 4-5 hours to make. While it was a bit of a bumpy start, with God’s hand it all just fell into place.

e3kids: So how much are the garlands and what do they look like?

Mary: The garlands are $40 each with all the money going to e3kids. Basically each garland is a strand of lights entwined with pieces of Christmas fabric. I have four different designs; a snowflake design, red and green, all red, and a red, white, and green design. They’re great to have in your own home for Christmas, or even to give as a gift.

e3kids: You had mentioned it was a fundraiser for e3kids. How much have you made for the organization?

Mary: Last years we raised $1,040 for e3kids, with my goal of raising $1,000. This year I also hope to raise $1,000.

e3kids: This is such a creative fundraising idea! Do you have any advice to people for fundraising for their causes?

Mary: For me fundraising is inspired by taking what you already have or are good at and going with it. I knew that I love working with fabric and that I already had some, so that’s where my idea came from. For someone else, they might be good at organizing bigger events, so they could host a yardsale. Another great idea is if you are already a consultant for a company such as Mary-Kay or Pampered Chef you can use that to help you with fundraising as well. Honestly, it is endless what you can come up with. If it is kingdom work for our God, then he will always bless it.

Thank you Mary for not only making these beautiful garlands for Christmas, but also for having the proceeds go to our students at Royal Kids Schools in Kenya. If you would like to order a garland for Christmas, contact Mary Vazquez.

-Maggie B

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