2020 Reflection - The View from Here
It's been a challenging year with no exceptions for all of us at Margaret Rudd & Associates.
When I wrote my last article, "2020 Vision – the Outlook," Hurricane Isaias was headed up the coast. The hurricane is long gone, but we are still pushing sand back onto the beach. And by now, everyone thought we would be over with COVID, but we are not. However, we did have some bright moments in 2020, and I would like to tell you about one of them.
Nine years ago, one of our owners, Margaret Rudd Bishop, rode a bicycle into the banquet room for her installation ceremony as President of the Brunswick County Association of Realtors. That began our involvement in Bucks 4 Bikes.
We teamed up with Brunswick Family Assistance, a nonprofit 501(c), and its devoted team of volunteers to distribute holiday bicycles, scooters, wagons, and helmets to the needy children of our county. Through our efforts that first year, we were able to give 60 bicycles to Brunswick County children at Christmas time. Every year we have grown the program. This year we raised over $60,000, our largest fundraising total to date.
The challenging part this year came when we were unable to buy the bicycles from Walmart due to restrictions on imports. In addition, the warehouse space that was donated to us in the past was unavailable. However, these problems did not stop our efforts. One of our team members sent a letter to the President of Walmart explaining our problem, and we promptly heard from Walmart and from the Huffy Corp. headquarters in Dayton, Ohio, lining up 780 bicycles, 100 wagons, 5 scooters, and 50 tricycles for this year's distribution. We found a warehouse, which was generously donated, for setup. Additionally, three Walmart stores in Shallotte, Southport, and Leland kindly pitched in to assemble the bicycles. Eventually 935 beautiful, new, kid-powered vehicles were distributed.
So many people opened their hearts in 2020. The Brunswick County Association of Realtors' 2020 Holiday Giving fundraiser and Bucks 4 Bikes program raised $59,252, which is nearly $15,000 more than 2019. The Margaret Rudd management team personally donated an additional $800 to be added to the $59,252 to achieve our goal of $60,000.
Cynthia Walsh, BCAR CEO said, "This year's Holiday Giving fundraiser surpassed all expectations, 2020 has been a whirlwind, and there is no better way to end the year than by putting smiles on the faces of Brunswick County children. It's safe to say that COVID-19 has not hampered our members' desire to give back to the community in which they work, and we are grateful to everyone who supported this effort."
In the coming years, we plan to expand our efforts into the Toys for Tots program and local food banks. The need is there and it's clear that many of our colleagues, friends, and neighbors are happy to help. My personal thanks go out to our team members, the Brunswick County Association of Realtors (BCAR) and a number of our local communities, who made donations and volunteered their time. The need is there...challenging yes, but impossible, no!
The holiday season is upon us and one thing is for sure - this year is going to be a little bit different. With so many of us spending a lot of time indoors, there really couldn't be a better time to step up your holiday decorating game. After all, if you're going to spend so much time in your home, you might as well make it look good. Additionally, great holiday decor can serve as a much-needed mood booster at a time when many of us need it the most.
We were so inspired after seeing the holiday decorations at these Southport homes for sale that we decided to pull together some recommendations for how you can make your home a bit more festive this year: