Send a Friend a Goat | Community Spirit
Send a Friend a Goat week is more than just a fun practical joke for the office, it is one of the Wishing Star Foundation's largest fundraisers. Lat year they were able to grant four wishes from this fundraiser alone.
Why goats? It all started when a friend told Director Paula Nordgaarden about someone he knew who was sending goats out as a fundraiser. Nordgaarden thought it was a joke and when she brought the idea to her fund raising coordinator the wheels started turning. They decided to host the event in April as part of National Child Abuse Awareness Month and Spokane Produce quickly jumped on board as sponsor.
“At first it was an honor to receive a goat,” said Nordgaarden. Wishing Star would select people that had been involved with children and their organization. But now it's become a fun break in the office for goat recipients, Nordgaaden says, “We just create so many smiles, giggles and laughs.”
Wishing Star borrows 5 or 6 goats a year from a small farm in the Spokane Valley. The kids range from a week old to one month old. Later in the month, A to Z Rental, who is a current sponsor, hosts a petting zoo and carnival featuring the small kids. The event is free and open to the public and many Wishing Star families attend.
Here's how it works:
For a $50 donation to Wishing Star you can shake things up and send a friend a goat. Volunteer Goat Teams then deliver the baby goat along with a story of a Wishing Star child. Once someone receives a goat there are two options. Make a small donation for goat removal, or continue the fun and send the goat along to someone else for $50. Don't want to risk having a goat in your office? You can buy Goat Insurance for just $100.
Wishing Star Development Director, Sarah Carpenter, thinks this fundraiser is successful because “it's unique and funny.” Carpenter says that last year they raised $18,000 and have raised a total of $140,000 in the eight years of Send a Friend a Goat.
“It's so much more than just a wish,” says Carpenter, “most of our families wouldn't be able to do these things on their own.”
Wishing Star serves Central and Eastern Washington as well as all of Idaho. They grant wishes for children who have life threatening illnesses and are between the ages of 3 and 21. It costs an average of $5,000 to grant one wish and the wishes vary. Carpenter says they grant a lot of Disney vacations as well as wishes that are necessities. Some children want things that increase their ability to connect with their families such as in house track devices and van lifts so they can get around or iPads with apps that allow them to communicate.
Carpenter says that the greatest thing about granting wishes is that they bring joy and hope to Wishing Star families. She has seen hope change lives. In one instance they had a young man who was dying of cancer and wanted nothing more than to marry his girlfriend on the Oregon Coast. His doctors said he wasn't strong enough to go. But Carpenter says he was determined to be married on the coast and that his health took a turn for the better. He and his wife are about the celebrate their third anniversary.
Send a Friend a Goat week is April 15-19 and this year Carpenter hopes they are able to grant five wishes from the unusual fundraiser. Wishing Star is also looking for volunteers to be a part of the goat delivery teams from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. during the week.
To surprise someone with a goat or to get involved visit www.wishingstar.org