“525,600 minutes, 525,000 moments so dear.
525,600 minutes — how do you measure, measure a year?
In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee.
In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife.”
Seasons of Love from RENT
Spring was a busy time for Art Van Furniture, and we were constantly looking for ways to give back and to bolster the spirits of Michiganders across the state. Here are just a handful of examples of how we spent this season.
Mending Hearts in Haiti
With the rebirth of spring came the opportunity to once again team up with Mitch Albom. This time Mitch was taking a group of volunteers to Port Au Prince, Haiti for a five-day building blitz. This humanitarian effort took plumbers and other badly needed cargo to the “Caring and Sharing Mission and Orphanage” which was devastated by the 7.0 earthquake on January 12, 2010. Detroiters helped to raise $82,000 for materials and volunteers to rebuild the orphanage, but they needed a way to get to and from Haiti safely, and that’s when Mr. Van stepped in and arranged for a plane.
“Our focus has been squarely on the needs of Michigan families in these tough economic times, but we also feel a responsibility to help around the world when tragedy strikes,” said Art Van Elslander.
“It was a privilege to help Mitch with this important project. Dozens of children will be helped by this effort, restoring the roof, kitchen and bathrooms at the orphanage.”
We’re already looking forward to the next chance we have to help Mitch — and knowing how passionate he is about helping others; we’re guessing we won’t be left waiting long.
Art Van was proud to host a dazzling reception for 545 Special Olympics athletes, volunteers, and their families who came to cheer them on at the Special Olympics State Basketball Tournament held in Grandville.
“Talk about having fire in the belly, these athletes have it. Their energy and determination is incredible. One woman’s smile was so contagious. I know she trained hard to get to the State Finals and her attitude was beautiful. It reminded me to do something better today than you did yesterday,” commented Aleta Knudholt, Grandville Store Manager.
In 2009, we had the privilege of awarding 50 charities across Michigan much needed grant money through our Million Dollar Charity Challenge. As a bonus component, we structured them as challenge grants to help the charities maximize their fundraising efforts. One grant recipient was Wigs 4 Kids. To help kick off their Wellness Center Capital Campaign in style, we hosted a fundraiser called “The Right Combination” held at Art Van Furniture on 14 Mile Road in Warren. The event was celebrated by over 400 guests and raised $17,000 for the campaign launch. The funds raised on that night, combined with the $300,000 in recent donations, brought the campaign to 25% of its goal of $1.25 million.
“At our new center, we’ll be able to help more children in one year than we’ve seen in the previous six years,” said Founder and CEO, Maggie Varney.
In addition to this event, Art Van Furniture provided all the furnishings for the Wellness Center, and a talented decorator to handle the interior design.
Art Van Furniture was named “2010 America’s Youth Retailer of the Year” by Legacy Classic Furniture, so it makes sense that Mr. Van pledged to help the Suite Dreams Project design and furnish 50 bedrooms. One of the recipients was a deserving 12-year old girl named Lexie. Battling leukemia, we helped create a soothing under the sea- themed room complete with a mural of a coral reef and saltwater fish. Sentinel Technologies, the company that supplies the hardware and technology that runs our in-store kiosks, donated special teleconferencing equipment that allows Lexie to attend school without leaving her room. This donation will help her continue to attend classes, even after undergoing bone marrow transplants that would normally have prevented her from physically going to the classroom.
Next up: Summer