TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – A Tampa mother and daughter are raising money for Ukraine, and a freshman class is helping out.
Karen Conroy owns a business that sells fundraising products. She said she approached her daughter Mary Grace’s teacher at Bayshore Christian School, Annette Sullivan, to see if she would discuss the ongoing invasion of Ukraine with her class, and if it was possible for the class to do a fundraising service project to raise money.
“There are still a lot of fundraising requests for Ukraine and they really need our help. The one thing that I really don’t think people realize is right now the war is going on, but it’s going to end at some point and these people have to start over,” Conroy said. “You think about it, their homes are destroyed. People who have had affairs, they are destroyed. It will take a long time for these people to rebuild and function. »
Conroy’s daughter and her class began selling $5 bracelets in the colors of Ukraine with the word “faith” to family, friends and neighbors.
Sullivan said she thought fundraising seemed easy for her students to do, and it was also something that would help them feel like they could make a difference. It was also closely related to their Bible studies at the time.
“Then I saw that our upcoming Bible lessons were about following Jesus by sharing and caring for others, so I sent a message [Karen] right away when I made my lesson plans and said, ‘hey, this is going to be a great time to do this. Let’s go out there and make it happen,” Sullivan said.
She also found it important for students to be able to explain why they are helping to raise funds for the country, rather than their parents explaining it on their behalf.
“I heard so many stories of them telling people that they knew Ukrainians were leaving their homes and needed help and they wanted to help them,” Sullivan said. “I’m so proud of them because they know they can be leaders and help others and care for others and really take what we learn in the Bible and apply it to their lives.”
The freshman class follows what they raised in Sullivan’s class.
“[We] have a temperature and that says how much money we have and we color it every time we have money and that’s how we keep track of it. We color it,” Mary Grace explained.
On Monday, Sullivan students raised nearly $840 in less than a week.
“We actually had to change our target because it was $850, which would have been $50 per student, but we had to change it to $1,000 because they’re already there, basically. It was so amazing to see them really take this project and run with it,” she said.
The money will be donated to a Ukrainian church in St. Petersburg with a direct line to send aid to the country.
Conroy said the wristbands are an inexpensive way to raise funds. She donated the bracelets through her company, Fundraising for a cause. She said the bracelets cost about 50 cents each to resell for a fundraiser.
“The bracelets are such that young people want them to the elderly. It’s just one of those universal items that everyone loves,” Conroy said.
To purchase a bracelet through Mary Grace Conroy, you can send $5 to her mother’s Venmo account, @karconroy. Interested persons should be sure to include their mailing address. Those who donate will receive a thank you note designed by Mary Grace, along with the bracelets ordered.
The class is accepting donations until April 12.
“It’s really amazing how they’ve come together as a unit and have this passion and mission to raise this money for the people of Ukraine, which is so great,” Conroy said.