Published by The Critograph on Nov. 30, 2016
Katherine Graves, Assistant Editor-
Lynchburg College’s Management Consultant Group is working with Gladiola Girls and Good Karma Tea Company to put on a fundraiser to build a house for Heidy, a six-year-old girl, and her family in Guatemala with the Holiday Soirée for Heidy, which will be held on Sunday, Dec. 4 from 1 to 3 p.m. at Gladiola Girls’ Boonsboro location.
At the Holiday Soirée, people can purchase organic white tea made specifically for the event for $15 a tube, purchase and blend their own tea with the help of an expert from Good Karma Tea Company, purchase and donate specific parts of the house that will be built and donate directly to the cause.
There will be free food from Isabella’s Italian Trattoria and live music from LC students and possibly faculty. All of the proceeds of the event will go to the fundraiser.
“We’re trying to raise $6,500 for her house. We’ll be building a cinder block home with two bedrooms and a living room area,” said Reneé Wood, owner of Gladiola Girls.
Wood’s family traveled to Guatemala on a mission trip with Thomas Road Baptist Church through Hope of Life International last February. On the trip, their family met Heidy.
“Heidy’s father and her uncle went to do migrant farm work two years ago, and no one’s heard from them,” said Wood. “So you have two widows and four children living in a house made of mud, about 11 by 15 (feet).”
Wood also expressed that mud “washes underneath their house” during the rainy season.
To help the cause, people can donate cash, purchase individual parts for the house (such as a door or a window) and purchase tea that has been packaged for the event or tea that they blend themselves.
“Dollar for dollar, any cash donations made, they’ll get back in Glad Dollars to use in the store at their leisure. A hundred percent of the money raised that day will go toward Heidy’s house,” Wood stated.
Admission to the event and the food provided for the event are free.
“We want people to come in and be generous,” Wood said.
LC’s Management Consultant Group has been working with Wood and Gladiola Girls since last year, said junior Lizzy Fesen, the group’s president. The group previously worked with Acorn Hill Lodge to makeover their brochures and website.
The group, which is a volunteer club on campus, helps local businesses with their specific needs. Fesen stated that the group’s goal is to learn as much as they can while working with each business.
“I used the Management Consultant Group to rewrite our Gladiola employee handbook,” said Wood.
Wood first told the group about her fundraising plan when she had them over to dinner after they finished the handbook. Wood said the group was moved by the story and wanted to help.
“One of the guys from the group, Justin, is making a video. So there’ll be a video screen up just running with pictures from Guatemala and video footage. One of the other guys is doing a little prototype of what the house will look like if people want to say, well, I’ll buy that window or I want to buy the door,” Wood stated.
LC’s Management Consultant Group has also made postcards and posters for the event, Fesen said.
People who want to help but cannot attend the event can come by the store to make donations or purchase the tea.
Wood said that she will continue selling tea and taking donations until the goal for the fundraiser is met.
Gladiola Girls is a boutique that has been in Lynchburg for four years and in their current location in Boonsboro since this August. The boutique also has another store in Lexington, Virginia.
“I think we specialize in, number one, apparel obviously and helping women find things that fit their body and style and price point,” Wood said.
The original store, which Wood purchased from its original owner, opened in 2002 in Boone, North Carolina.
Wood said the story behind the store’s name is that the original owner, Kristen Hall, became ill before she was supposed to open the store, so her friends put the store together for her. The women made a sign, which read, “Love, the Gladiola Girls.”
Gladiola Girls is located at 4925 Boonsboro Road in the Boonsboro Shopping Center. The store is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Mondays through Saturdays and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays.
Students who want to join LC’s Management Consultant Group can contact Lizzy Fesen at firstname.lastname@example.org or join the group at their holiday party on Thursday, Dec. 8 at 6 p.m. in Pete’s Place in the Drysdale Student Center.