I believe I have told you that I happen to panic the first week of Sweet Hope sales every year. This year I promised myself that I would not panic. It would all be fine. I would leave it up to the ground work I’d laid and the wonderful sales people that were going to help me. We would reach our goal with no problem and I would be calm for once.
Isn’t that a nice fantasy?
The reality… I’ve been panicking more than I’ve ever panicked in the past. I haven’t gone back to see how many orders we had by this time last year. I know the dollar amount, but not the number of individual orders. This year… we only have 14. While the dollar amount is much more important, that number of orders matters to me. We had 73 total orders last year. 95 if you consider that 1 of the 73 consisted of about 22 different orders.
The financial goal we set this year was $4680 in gross sales. I will admit that we are under $2000 away from hitting that goal. That is all thanks to a Portland area business that purchased more 1 dozen boxes than we sold in 73 orders last year. I can’t publicly thank the business, but the size of the order was totally unexpected (we anticipated them purchasing 1/2 dozen boxes). We also will be making a special order for one local nursery *Gardensphere* who will be giving away a tasty little box of truffles with the first 100 Christmas trees purchased. We have to make those truffles prior to Thanksgiving, but it all adds to the total.
With all of that I’m still panicking. I wanted to make the goal without the aid of the “very large corporate order.” I wanted the corporate order to be the icing on the cake. At the very least, I wanted to send as much money as we sent last year.
Earlier this year I asked Galina if she would be able to get me photos of the children in Mirnoe. The only images I have of them is from right after we sent the money last year. I wanted to see how they’d grown. Galina and Evelina traveled out to Mirnoe to visit with the director, Natasha, in October. I had also asked Galina to talk with Natasha about what types of things they needed for the orphanage. Natasha told her that they had planned to give the children a Christmas party (which is always part of the deal with us sending money), but in addition to that they would like to purchase a new rug for their gathering room along with chairs for the children to sit on. If you look at the photos of the orphanage you will notice there only a very small rug and old and worn stadium style seats in their gathering room. The floor is cold and bare and there is nowhere for them to sit.
Galina also informed me that Natasha would like to purchase vitamins for the children. Food in Russia isn’t fortified like it is in the US and access to fresh fruits and vegetables is difficult in the winter and especially in such a remote area. The children desperately need vitamins.
I think that knowing what the orphanage needs makes it slightly more difficult. I want to be able to provide what they need. This tiny orphanage has little opportunity for outside funding. They get only their government allotted rubles. There are 60-80 children who subsist on so little how can I break a promise?
My hope is that I’ve tugged on your heartstrings enough to encourage you to give a Christmas gift with a purpose this year. You or a loved one gets a delicious box of candy, and a child gets hope.