On Tuesday, October 27, the Calhoun Applebee’s made a donation of $11,100 to the Make a Wish Foundation. The restaurant collected money from August 26 until October 4 by asking its patrons to donate to the foundation and covering their walls with paper footballs with that included the names of their donors.
The Make-A-Wish Foundation is a charity that grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions. Their goal is to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. According to their website, wish.org, on average, a wish is granted every 37 minutes in the United States and its territories with help from dedicated staff, volunteers, donors and supporters.
The local business raises money for this organization each year, but, this year, was able to take the fundraising further by involving the entire community.
Applebee’s employees Tabitha Johnson and David DePerro visited local businesses and individuals in the community to donate to the charity. Johnson, a veteran bartender for the restaurant chain, was responsible for raising more than $7000 on her own. She said that the Make A Wish Foundation is one of her favorite things to raise money for. The Calhoun resident is currently in nursing school and will be specializing in pediatrics; she said that this cause holds a special place in her heart.
“I read these kids’ stories and I think about how I would feel if it were someone in my family; I would want them to have everything,” said Johnson. “To be able to help give a kid everything they have ever wanted means a lot to me. I would love to be able to just do that for a living.”
The local business raised the most money company-wide. Their total was nearly 10 percent of the $156,000 raised throughout the company during the five-week period, according to Steve Smith, Regional Director of Operations.
“It is amazing for just this one store to raise this kind of money,” said Vic McCarty, Senior Director of Events Walk for Wishes. “I think it’s amazing that the community can rally around and raise that kind of money.”
According to McCarty, all of the money stays local to the Northwest Georgia area. The estimated cost of granting one wish is $10,000. The total raised by the company will be used to help grant the wishes of two children that are based out of the Northwest Georgia area.
Last year, 18 wishes were granted from the Northwest Georgia area, and there are 41 currently in queue. On average, it takes nine months to grant a child’s wish, McCarty said. Wishes can be submitted by children under the age of 18.
For more information on the wishes of local children, to learn more about the Make a Wish organization, or to make a direct donation, please visit georgia.wish.org.