CLEAR LAKE, Iowa - The Clear Lake-based One Vision's mission is to connect people with purpose, helping those with disabilities achieve greater independence through personal choice and community involvement, and providing programs and services like job placement, supporting them in homes that meet their needs and wants, and encouraging them to pursue their personal interests.
But the non-profit's fundraising opportunities have been limited this year due to COVID-19, with many of their in-person events cancelled and moved towards a virtual platform as a result. This holiday season, the organization is making changes to its two big fundraisers.
Now in its 25th year, the Festival of Trees will be held virtually in 2020. Decorative trees are on display in the windows of local businesses, and the public can bid on the trees, along with wreaths, swags and baskets, on eBay. In addition, the annual Lights on 5K Run/Walk that goes in conjunction with the festival kicked off Thursday afternoon, with the public being able to participate right from home.
In a typical year, One Vision tries to raise about $900,000 for operating expenses. But this year, Chief Operating Officer Jennifer Pinske says the organization needs an influx of money.
"We've had a lot of extra expenses this year, having to pay staff overtime and hazard pay, getting PPE equipment for every single one of them, a lot of added expenses. The fundraising is even more important this year."
In addition, fundraising helps cover the gap of funds that Medicaid doesn't cover.
"We've been working non-stop, needing to be there 24 hours a day for people. It's important for them to lead quality of life and to be able to do the things the rest of us get to do, so it's very important for them, for their lives."
Both the 5K and the Festival of Trees run until Sunday. For more details regarding the Festival of Trees, including bidding on trees and donations, click here. For more information on the 5K, including the link to register, as well as where to purchase a Secret Santa Workshop Kit and Blessings Box, and to donate, click here. All proceeds from registration, donations, and funds raised from the 5K will go towards buying Christmas gifts for individuals in need who are supported by One Vision.