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Kickoff planned for Make-A-Wish fundraisers

The Brookhaven “Walk for Wishes and Rides for Wishes” event for Make-A-Wish Mississippi is coming up Oct. 26 at the Exchange Club Park in Brookhaven. But, now is the time to organize fundraising teams that will work together for the cause.

Those interested in being team leaders or members are invited to a kickoff event at 5:30 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 20, at Southway Baptist Church, 1107 South Jackson St. Extension, Brookhaven.

Make-A-Wish Mississippi’s mission is to grant wishes to children who have life-threatening medical conditions and enrich their lives with hope.

Event organizer Judy Arnold has been raising money for the Make-A-Wish foundation for 10 years and said she works hard and has fun. She said teams are encouraged to do whatever it takes to raise money for these kids.

“I tell teams ‘do whatever it takes – as long as it’s legal,'” Arnold said with a laugh. “Anybody that wants to form a team or wants to be on a team, the kick-off is the time to come together.”

Arnold said the foundation allows for her to donate the money locally if possible.

“This year my team is raising enough money for Kaley Wilkerson,” Arnold said, “a little girl in Lincoln County who attends Mamie Martin Elementary. We don’t know what her wish is yet, but we usually try to raise $5,000 to grant a wish.

She said the fund-raising is work, but it’s for a great cause.

“I been doing this for 10 years and I love doing it,” Arnold said. She added that teams can have a great experience working together for a cause and said it’s up to them to set goals and create their own ways to make money.

“Last year my team raised $9,000,” she said. “We do whatever it takes,” she said, noting they have washed cars and held drawings.

Arnold said she started with the Make-A-Wish foundation as a volunteer through her Sunday school class, and now it’s an annual event she does with her daughter Casey Martin, who is also an organizer for the event.

One thing the mother-daughter duo does for the event each year is sell fundraiser T-shirts. “They always do great,” Arnold said. “My daughter Casey designs them – we have a lot of fun doing that.”

The fair and the 5K Walk will be the finale event. Arnold said she expects the weather to be nice at the end of October – perfect for a fair.

“The fair is during cool weather, so I expect to have a nice turnout then,” she said. She added that many local businesses and sponsors pitch in to make the fair a success.

“We are very fortunate that everything we do at the fair I get donated, Coca-Cola, food, cups, ice, you name it I try to get it donated. The less money we have to spend out of pocket for supplies the more we can give to the foundation.”

For more information about being part of a team, contact Arnold at (601) 754-7068, or Martin at (601) 695-1265.

To learn how Make-A-Wish funds are spent, and more about the foundation, visit the website at www.makeawish.org.