The newlywed Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, donated their wedding flowers to Hospice patients in England. Meanwhile on this side of the pond, volunteers for Mountain Valley Hospice were raising funds to benefit patients without insurance
The inaugural Hats for Hospice fundraiser was held at the Yadkin Valley Wine Festival on Saturday, where volunteers raised nearly $1,000.
“I woke up one morning and I was listening to a story about the royal wedding being today and I thought, hmm, royal wedding, wine festival — everybody needs a hat! That’s where it started,” said Douglas Sanders, one of the fundraiser organizers.
When he began thinking of the fun it would be to see guests at the festival decked out in the Yadkin Valley version of royal wedding style, his thoughts quickly turned to how that could be paired with a good cause
Sanders has had multiple family members who were able to spend their last days in the comfort of their own homes thanks to the services provided by hospice so that was a natural choice. Sanders went to The Tribune and met with reporter Beanie Taylor about the idea.
Taylor wholeheartedly jumped in on the project and a donation bin was placed at the newspaper office to begin collecting hats. Sanders then met with the Yadkin Valley Chamber of Commerce, and Hats for Hospice was born.
Sanders and Taylor collected more than 100 new and used hats, which they then redecorated with flowers and other accessories.
The chamber provided a spot for the booth and hospice employees Sheila Jones and Jodie McCann helped sell the hats.
Jones said she was amazed at the response they received at the festival, but was most impressed with Taylor and Sanders, who organized the fundraiser.
“Here’s the blessing, these folks, Douglas and Beanie, decided to do this for us,” Jones said. “We’re just here to support them.
“When people do something like this for us, it really allows us to provide services to people who don’t have insurance of any kind,” Jones added.
She said that a number of festival-goers stopped by to share their stories of how hospice had helped their families, including a woman who lost her husband only nine days ago.
“It started out as just a little something fun and we had no idea how much fun it would actually be between gathering everything and getting people involved and then decorating, and today, the response has been amazing,” said Taylor.
“Hospice just touches people in so many ways. It’s not always sad, sometimes it’s a joyful thing and that’s what we celebrate today,” Taylor added.
Volunteers Mike Cheek and Sherry Berman also signed on just the day before the event to help sell hats. They could be seen at the festival helping customers try on hats and find the style that best suited them.
The event was such a success that Sanders and Taylor said they hope to do it again next year.
Kitsey Burns Harrison may be reached at 336-679-2341 or on Twitter and Instagram @RippleReporterK.