If we know anything, it's that the Smith Mountain Lake community is big-hearted.
But the true extent of that generosity?
Well, even we were blown away by the response to our “Feed the Fish for Make-A-Wish" fundraiser this year.
Our idea: Turn a decades-long SML tradition – kids feeding popcorn to the massive carp that gather around our docks – into a way to contribute to Make-A-Wish Greater Virginia, a charity that serves children with life-threatening illnesses.
Our goal: $10,000
Our plan: Donate 100 percent of all popcorn sales this year ($1 per bag)
That's right. Thanks to our amazing customers, we crushed our goal and recently contributed $25,216 to Make-A-Wish Greater Virginia.
Julia Blair Spalding, Director of Development for Richmond-based Make-A-Wish Greater Virginia, said the average wish costs $10,000 so this donation will grant 2.5 wishes to children in Virginia diagnosed with life-threatening medical conditions.
Examples include meeting celebrities, working a dream job and visiting a desired destination such as Disney World. Last year, the organization granted 188 wishes across Virginia.
Spalding said: “We are deeply grateful for the support we’ve received from Bridgewater Marina through the ‘Feed the Fish for Make-A-Wish’ campaign. The results have been truly amazing for this fun and truly unique event. We really don’t have anything else like it.”
Vicki Gardner, executive director of the Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce, was on hand for the recent check presentation and echoed Spalding’s comment.
“Who would have thought that a quirky tradition such as this – feeding popcorn to fish – could result in such an awesome achievement? More than $25,000 for an amazing charity. Thank you to Bridgewater Marina for organizing it and to Smith Mountain Lake residents and tourists for supporting it,” Gardner said.
Make-A-Wish is an organization that’s near and dear to my heart, and I can’t thank everyone enough who bought popcorn and helped make this unbelievable donation possible.
We plan to continue the program and hope to raise $30,000 in 2018!
Visit the Make-A-Wish Greater Virginia website to find out more about their inspiring work, and be sure to follow them on Facebook.
~ Ryan and the team at Bridgewater Marina
Photo caption: Ryan Waters (center) of Bridgewater Marina, along with Vicki Gardner of the SML Regional Chamber of Commerce (left), presents a check to Julia Blair Spalding of Make-A-Wish Greater Virginia. The marina donated 100 percent of its popcorn sales this year – more than $25,000 – as part of a campaign called “Feed the Fish for Make-A-Wish.” Children traditionally use the popcorn to feed the carp that gather around the marina’s docks.