Creating Ripples in Their Community
Often, one person’s actions can spark change in the lives of a whole community. In the case of one of our very own teammates, Cheryl Cody, this action sparked the change needed for one of Chicago’s most vulnerable populations—the children.
Cheryl attended Villagewide four years ago, at which time she was touched by the impactful author and speaker Liz Murray, who spoke about her personal connection with childhood hunger and how an incredible program called Blessings in a Backpack is helping to fill a void left for underprivileged children—those children who receive breakfast and lunch programs during the week at school, but are often left hungry through the weekend because they lack resources at home. With support of the program, these children are given enough food each Friday to ward off that hunger.
After hearing about Blessings in Backpack, Cheryl contacted multiple Chicago schools already participating in the program and eventually narrowed her focus to one school most in need of assistance—Washington Elementary School.
With the help of Team Fusion, Cheryl organized an auction the following year, which ended up raising more than $10,000 from teammate-donated items.
“We were amazed by how much money we raised,” Cheryl said. “When we presented [the school] with the check they cried, the principal cried. It was an amazing reaction.”
Each year at the Fusion Directors meeting, two auctions (one silent and one live) are held to raise funds for the Blessings in a Backpack program at Washington Elementary School. Over the past four years—from Cheryl’s vision and through the generosity of the Fusion Directors, DVPs and special guests—the Fusion team has been able to donate more than $50,000, along with jackets, boots and non-perishables.
Cheryl’s efforts have not only made a vital impact on Blessings in a Backpack and Washington Elementary School, but her outpouring of altruism has spread to other teammates, as well as the community as a whole.
“I have never seen such generosity from my colleagues, and from other people that don’t even attend our meetings,” Cheryl said. “Everyone’s asking when they can help. So many people want to go to schools and work with kids. I believe, from listening to my colleagues, that they are doing more in their communities after being a part of this.”