The Lakeland Union High School Class of 1994 is a uniquely creative and generous group of current and former Lakeland area residents.
While still in high school they set a standard for raising money – from 1991 to 1994 – the class is definitely charitably inclined.
Fast forward 20 years and not much has changed. David Haug, co-chairman of the 20-year reunion celebration, said, “When initial planning began for our reunion our discussion centered on which charity to support as a class project and creative ways to engage the community.”
Haug, Jody Cardinal (Hagen), Jacy Elrod (Harms), Megan Koehler (Mills) and the rest of the planning committee selected Lakeland Sharing Foundation based on its commitment to children in need and its vision that every child has the opportunity to be happy, productive and successful.
The two major programs of the Foundation are the Backpack Program each August and the Christmas Giving Program every December.
Annually, more than 1,000 children are provided with new backpacks and school supplies and nearly 500 families are served at Christmas by providing new toys, books, games, and hats/gloves for their children from birth to age 16.
Foundation President Pam Pound said she was surprised and thrilled to know the class was interested in supporting Lakeland Sharing’s efforts and said, “In addition to raising funds for the charity, one of the members of the class of 1994 even volunteered to build a brand new website for the Lakeland Sharing Foundation. We are so appreciative of the class’s and the community’s generosity.”
The day and evening event was held Aug. 23 at The Boathouse, which
graciously hosted the class on its new lower level venue called The Islander. Live music was provided by Kyle Mertz and his band from noon-5 p.m. and there was a good public turnout.
Prior to the event, the class created an account on the GoFundMe website that encouraged direct contributions from classmates and the community to Lakeland Sharing as well as a raffle that included prizes and a 50/50 cash drawing during the event.
Fundraising dollars were raised from all over the nation including Texas, Arizona and Colorado to name a few.
“Dozens of people and families contributed to our fundraising efforts. It really brought our class together for a great cause, and it made our 20-year reunion celebration that much more rewarding,” Haug said.
“I want to share with you a special story – something that really hit close to our hearts. Our server at The Boathouse, Jen, watched what we were up to all day long and when we passed a bucket to raise more cash for prizes near the end of our programming, she came over and asked to put $20 in and refused raffle tickets. That was very generous of her.
“We would have none of that and gave her raffle tickets. The final prize was to split the cash in the bucket and the winning ticket would receive half the pot. Well, guess who won? Jen won. And you know what she did? She donated her $175 back into the pot for Lakeland Sharing Foundation. I was in shock. I said, ‘You do not need to do this!’ but Jen insisted, ‘Yes I do. I have a young child and it is important to me that they are here to help if my child ever needs it.’ It was very rewarding to see the impact Lakeland Sharing Foundation makes for local residents. The Foundation ... is really important to this community,’” Haug said.
“Our entire class was very enthusiastic and happy to help. It really brought our class together for a great cause. In all, we are able to raise $3,000 for Lakeland Sharing Foundation, and we still have some donations flowing in.”
The Class of 1994 also recognizes Redman Realty Group, Ace Hardware, Jay Sloan Guide Services, Eye Care and Eye Wear, River Valley Bank, Timber Ridge Golf Course, Megan and PJ Koehler, and Lighthouse Commercial Real Estate for business contributions to the event.
“One of the things we learned in our fundraising efforts is just how tough the local economy has been over the last few years in the Lakeland area. It makes us all the more grateful for those who supported our efforts and the support Lakeland Sharing Foundation provides to our community families,” Haug said.
To learn more about volunteer opportunities at Lakeland Sharing Foundation email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 715-277-3434.
Contributions may be mailed to Lakeland Sharing Foundation, P.O. Box 1536, Woodruff, WI 54568.