By Elizabeth Lenart
Nominated by The North Texas Food Bank, the “Mistlecrew” earns the 2018 Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy Award at Dallas’ National Philanthropy Day Celebration.
Over the past four years, the mighty Mistlecrew – Stella Wrubel, 12, Quinn Graves, 13, Trevor Godkin, 13, Isabella Dickason, 13 – has put nearly 300,000 nutritious meals on the tables of hungry North Texans by selling mistletoe in the winter. Nominated by The North Texas Food Bank (NTFB), the group earned the Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy Award, at the 33rd Annual National Philanthropy Day Luncheon hosted by the Greater Dallas Chapter of Association of Fundraising Professionals.
The mistletoe campaign began in 2012 when Hurricane Sandy struck New York City. Then 6-year-old Stella Wrubel wanted to help her friends and family on the East Coast but was not sure what a kid could do. Her parents suggested a lemonade stand, but Wrubel had a different idea: decorate mistletoe with bows and bells and sell it in the front yard. That first year she raised $2,034 for the American Red Cross for Hurricane Sandy relief. In 2013 she recruited more friends and raised $8,421.
After Wrubel and her friend Quinn Graves were introduced to NTFB, and they discovered how the organization helped children their own age, their bond with the NTFB was sealed. That next year the duo was more energized than ever to help fight hunger, and they formed a multi-generational team that cut down and sold even more mistletoe. In December 2014, they set up stands in Highland Park Village and raised $18,000. From 2015-2017, the kids in the red hats raised $131,081.57, providing 393,245 meals. Every fall, the kids are dedicated to planning, organizing and implementing this fundraising model. It is their goal that children all over the country will follow their lead and sell mistletoe in front of grocery stores helping fight hunger nationwide. Together in 2017, the Mistlecrew raised over $60,000 to provide 180,000 nutritious meals to hungry children, families and seniors. The goal for 2018 is $70,000. Sales will take place December 20-23, at Highland Park Village, at Royal Blue Grocery.
The Jingle Bell Mistletoe Campaign is an innovative approach to empowering children to lead the fight against hunger in North Texas. Utilizing social media during mistletoe season, the group encourages people to post selfies with their mistletoe purchases and the hashtag #KissAndTella. Additionally, they collect donations online and via a text-to-donate service. As the fundraiser grows annually, the group recruits more friends to help. They hope their fundraising model will be replicated by others and encourage their peers to find other ways to give back.
“These passionate kids are committed to making a difference with the audacious attitude that nothing can stop them, and nothing has,” said Jeffrey King, associate director of individual giving, NTFB. “We are honored to count them as a friend and partner in our mission and the belief that one meal makes a difference.”
Editor’s Note: For information on how you can help NTFB, visit ntfb.org. For information on the National Philanthropy Day Luncheon, visit afpdallas.org.