We are proud to have Costco as a partner in our mission to improve children’s lives, and we encourage you to support their campaign this month.
If you visit Varsylvia James’ Costco Wholesale store, you’ll quickly notice her as the woman with paper balloons taped to her clothes or dressed up as one of the Village People. Ms. James has been an enthusiastic fundraiser for Costco’s May Miracle Balloon campaign for each of the 17 years that she’s been an employee, but raising money for the campaign that supports Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals became deeply personal when her grandson became a patient at Children’s National.
“After seeing everything they did for my grandson and the care they gave him, it became about the impact of the campaign,” Ms. James said. “For us, there was never a question of how we were going to pay or how his care would be managed. Whatever he needed, it was taken care of at Children’s National.”
Ms. James is just one of the passionate, committed Costco employees who raise money for Children’s National year after year. Costco Wholesale has been a partner with Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals since 1988 and has raised more than $240 million for children’s hospitals around the country. In 2015, the 18 warehouses and one depot located in Maryland, Washington, and Virginia raised nearly $1.8 million for Children’s National.
Each May, Costco cashiers invite members to make a donation when they check out, at which point a paper balloon gets hung up in their honor. Members are encouraged to write their names on the balloons, which are often displayed in creative ways throughout the warehouse: on bulletin boards, in the shape of the words “thank you,” or even taped to employees like Ms. James. While Costco holds a regional golf tournament and is the exclusive water and snack sponsor of Children’s National’s Race for Every Child, the Miracle Balloon campaign is their biggest – and most popular – fundraising campaign.
Costco’s fundraising efforts are especially unique because each warehouse – cashiers, managers, and all employees – brings the Miracle Balloon campaign to life as a team. Store teams take tours of Children’s National to get a clearer picture of the kids that they’re helping, and they invite those patients to visit the local Costco stores, where cashiers sometimes let the kids help at the registers. Children’s National awards two travelling trophies each year -- one for the Costco store with the highest percentage increase in fundraising from the year prior, and one for highest individual fundraiser.
With leadership and employees like Ms. James who are constantly employing clever twists to inspire and encourage donations, it’s easy to see why Costco remains one of the top CMN fundraisers, year after year.
Locate your nearest Costco Warehouse and support the Miracle Balloon campaign, which runs through May 31.