Monday, July 19, 2010

I was asked to write "a little something" HAHAH they do not know me eh??

about the plant sale for our employee magazine.

I am sure they will cut the day light out of this to fit their space..but i wanted you all to see it. I mean every word. Thank you so very much for all you did! I have been slow in getting the blog updated and the official thank yous out due to the death of my grand dad..the occurred on the final day of the plant sale..he was much more like a father to me then anything and his loss is very large to me. So please forgive me I have not forgotten any kindness you all have shown me... I promise.

For most Costco employees CMN fund raising is something you only do in
the month of May. At Michelle Tarver's house it is a year-round
topic. Sometimes called the Crazy Plant Lady, she says she is...
crazy about plants, crazy about helping kids.

The plant sale began in May 2009 by accident. Michelle discovered a
simple seed sowing method called "winter sowing" and went overboard,
starting 72 milk jugs of various seeds outside and starting more
tomato plants inside than she alone could possibly use. So Michelle
asked Marketing Mgr Eric DeSatnick if they could sell them at the
store and use the money for CMN. With the green-light from Whse Mgr
Shannon Lundholm, the sale of those "extra" plants raised $3300 for
CMN in 2009.

Michelle went home to her husband and said excitedly, “If we can do
$3300 with no notice just imagine what we can do next year.” So
starting in June 2009, they solicited donations of potting supplies
from Blackmore Co and Griffin Greenhouse Supply, and also obtained a
bulk seed donation from Ball Hort. She also bought every clearance
priced “broken bag”of potting mix she could find. (“Whoever coined
the phrase 'dirt-cheap' was obviously not a gardener.”) She
conscripted her family (husband Aaron, 16 year-old twin sons Keiran
and Evan, 8 year-old son Duncan and her chief assistant, 6 year-old
daughter Abigail) to help sow seeds and nurture them to be ready for
the 2010 sale.

In February 2010, Michelle and Aaron reached out to local nurseries
and found a great partner in Lori Packard, of Packard Farms (Brockton,
MA), who over the course of the sale donated well over $2000 worth of
beautiful blooming plants and hanging baskets. They also received
sizable plant donations from Zabo Plant Inc, Pleasant View Gardens,
J.P. Bartlett Co., Connie Mayo, and Chris Wagner. (See her blog for
more details.

In April employees from the warehouse got involved. Eric DeSatnick,
Kandy O'Kelly, Lori Anne Stoner, Abedel Bedewey, Nicole True and their
families all rolled up their sleeves and got dirty at Michelle's home,
potting up over 1000 seedlings in one day. Says Michelle, “I got the
best compliment when I went back to work. 'Michelle, the people who
went to your house..they all say they did not do any work..but they
had a lot of fun!'”

Some people kept coming back for weeks to help pot more things up, and
they brought new people to help and have some laughs! Other employees
volunteered their time to transport the plants 26 miles from
Michelle's home to the warehouse: Foods Mgr Steve Beshim, Asst Whse
Manager Dan Gordon, FE Sup Lynne Miller, and Receiving Clerk Rob
Tricomi. And a perfect stranger, Marlene O'Brien, walked in off the
street to offer her time and talent to the sale after reading about
Michelle's efforts on an internet forum, Other indispensably Garden-web helpers were the "tomato people" Connie Mayo and Chris Wagner they spend the late winter and early spring growing heirloom tomatoes,hot peppers and herbs seedlings specifically for Michelle to sell at the CMN sale.Plus the many helpful gardenweb winter sowing forum people who gave advice sent supplies and seeds!

Michelle also networked with the Master Gardener Program of
Massachusetts Horticultural Society to get plant savvy volunteers to
man the plant sale tables. Kathi Gariepy, MassHort Outreach
Coordinator, enthusiastically supported the project with her own time
as well as with the interns of the Master Gardener Program. Their
help was outstanding.

Says Michelle, “Of course, none of it would have happened without
Shannon's approval and full endorsement, the way she took the project
under her wing, assisting in getting staffing and advising on what to
grow and just being there on the days I was discouraged. I really
could not have done it with out her! And Eric DeSatnick and his wife
Jennifer, they helped keep the planting going and helped me find
solutions when challenges came up. Sheree Johnson was a great
supporter and committed her time to learning about the plants to
effectively sell them. Ed Pope, Asst FE Mgr, did a nice job of taking
care of the many volunteers I brought in... keeping them cool, fed and
happy! It really turned out to be a whole warehouse project.”

“Costco Avon's 2nd Annual Plant Sale is credited with raising $10,500
for CMN in 2010. That's a good feeling. We worked hard, but I think
we gained as much if not more than the kids and the hospital. We made
some new friends, increased our knowledge and got to watch the
warehouse become a community. I'd like to thank Jenn Kaczenski at
Children's Hospital Boston and Avon 303's management for empowering us
to do this, and Costco corporate for choosing such a great cause to

“Now I am off to water the 200 or so perennials I have growing for
NEXT year's sale...”