MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- “Philanthropy is an altruistic concern for human welfare and advancement, usually manifested by donations of money, property, or work to needy persons, by endowment of institutions of learning and hospitals, and by generosity to other socially useful purposes,” as defined by the dictionary.com.
The Combined Federal Campaign for 2006 wrapped up with their CFC Celebration Luncheon at Marston Pavilion here Jan. 10.
“Our campaign was very successful this year with a 49 percent increase over last years’ donations due to the level of command support received for the campaign,” said Patricia Morin, CFC Director.
Last year’s campaign raised $466,624.36 and was a great accomplishment but with an increase of $227,222.58 to $643,846.94 this year really took it to another level, said Morin.
Out of the 299 CFC campaigns nationwide there were only eight that increased collections by more than 49 percent, said Col. Adele E. Hodges, commanding officer of Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune.
“It’s been an effort from the top down and we were very surprised at how generous the donations from junior Marines were,” said Dan Litz, executive director of Community Health Charities, who are the fiscal agents, which sponsors the expenses for the campaign.
There were many donations, but one corporal’s stood out during the luncheon.
Cpl. Patricia Cruz, an admin clerk for Company A, Headquarters and Support Battalion, Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, donated $500 to an El Salvadorian charity.
“It’s important to me, my home, my family to know I’m doing something to give back. It’s only $41.66 a month, anyone can do it,” said Cruz.
Big donations from a few big people make a big difference, but what happens when a lot of little people make lot’s of little donations?
Providing the answer was Camp Lejeune Dependents Schools with the highest average gift of $63.85 with a total donation of $34,665.36, said Morin.
Brewster Middle School’s student caucus led other Camp Lejeune schools by raising more than $2450.50 by means of a penny drive, said Caren Jones, Achievement Via Individual Determination Team coordinator and Brewster Middle School’s Student Caucus teacher leader.
Trish Chasteen’s 8th grade ‘Bear’ classroom took first place raising $349.19 and Kaylee Welden 6th grade ‘Gator’ classroom finished second raising $340.60, added Jones.
All donations from Brewster Middle School were given exclusively to the Wounded Warrior Project, said Jones.
“We wanted to help and another student brought up the [WWP] because our parents are Marines. So everyone decided that this would be a good choice for our donation,” said 8th grader Phylicia Callahan.
The WWP provides backpacks to injured service men and women with the necessities and comfort items most needed and requested as they prepare for a long-term rehabilitative stay, according to woundedwarriorproject.org.
Speaking at the luncheon was Ed Salau, WWP eastern area director and former Marine, who retired from the Army as a First Lieutenant due to the loss of his left leg by a rocket-propelled grenade attack two years ago near Tikrit, Iraq.
“Because of generous donations like yours, we have been able to give away more than 20,000 backpacks,” said Salau.
“I’m so pound of the students. This is the second year they are doing this and they are putting forth such an effort for the WWP,” said Eric Steimel, principal of Brewster Middle School.
Even local business supported the event, said Morin.
For the second year Coastal Plains Raceway Park provided a $1,000 donation to sponsor the ‘CFC Fun Run’, added Morin.
“We have so many Marines who come to the track and we feel the need to give back. We believe the CFC is a good program to put money where it’s needed and I look forward to doing it next year,” said Ronnie Humphrey, president of Plains Raceway Park.
“I could not have asked for a more optimistic and energetic group of people to work with this year. Their hard work and enthusiasm was the powerful engine that drove the campaign to the level it reached this year,” concluded Morin.