Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Donation

Wow! Yesterday was such a whirlwind of excitement for those of us here at TAOE!

I guess I should start this story from the beginning. I had to pick up a few things from Walmart (NW Expressway and Council in OKC) on Thursday. I happened to run into the manager, and asked if they would be willing to donate some cards. He was a new manager, so he relayed me to one of his assistant managers named Lynnette.
Lynnette looked frazzled when I approached her, and she soon let me know why. The district manager was in the store that day, and they were trying to make everything perfect. Lynnette told me that they'd love to donate, but today was a hectic day for them. She promised to sort through some cards and have them boxed and ready for me at 11am the next day. She told me to find someone with a headset and to page her when I arrived.
PERFECT! How easy was that? It can be pretty hard to get donations from big stores, so I was happy if they were willing to give 5 free boxes of cards. Its more than we had!

The next day at 11am, I found someone with a headset and paged Lynnette. She was busy, so she told the women helping me what to do. I was led back to the garden center (where all of the holiday decor is) and told to pick out whichever gift cards I liked. I stared back at the lady confused and asked "Does she just want to put money on a card and have me buy the Christmas cards?" The lady laughed and said "OH! Now I'm the one confused. So you want Christmas cards, not Christmas gift cards?" 
She lead me over to the Christmas cards and said "Which ones do you want?"
"How many can I have?" I asked
"Whichever ones you want, I guess"
"I'll take all of them!"
"Let me double check with Lynnette first."

She called Lynnette and after a few minutes of chatting she came back over and told me that since they had gone 75% off that day and they still had so many left, Lynnette didn't think they'd sell many more, and I was welcome to take everything they had left..... So I did!
It took 3 hours to get everything off of the shelves and scanned. You should see my receipts! We scanned so many items that we maxed out the register and had to break it up into 3 separate transactions!
Above is the picture of nearly all the cards Walmart donated. There was one more cart full than what this picture shows. You are looking at 1,681 total boxes of cards. We haven't done a specific count  yet, but we're estimating about 25,000+ cards! If you were to walk into a store and buy these at full price, you would have spent $10,644.28! THANK YOU WALMART!

If you'd like to help us in thanking this walmart (and it's generous managers) please send a thank you card to:
The Art of Encouragement
P.O. Box 12922
Oklahoma City, OK 73157

We will place all of the thank you cards together and present them to the staff on January 12th.

We also had some amazing volunteers who helped haul all of these cards away. We filled up an F-150, a Trail Blazer, and a Malibu! Above is the F-150, packed to the brim. This volunteer actually counted how many cards he hauled away.....12,955! And that's just one vehicle! Thanks to Lee Fuhr and the Qualls family for stopping everything and helping out yesterday!

What a great way to start off the new year! The Art of Encouragement will definately be busy signing cards this year! The one downside to having so many cards, is the amount of money it costs to send them all. Please consider donating to The Art of Encouragement. You can give any time of year! Just click the DONATE button below!

Happy New Year Everyone! It is going to be a great year! Thank you for supporting us as we start the journey to our fourth Christmas! God Bless!

Ashley Hyde
Founder of The Art of Encouragement

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