The Blandin Employees for Life (BEFL) team held their annual spring plant sale to raise money for their local cancer fund at the Grand Rapids Area Community Foundation.The team reaches out to many who are struggling with the emotional and financial uncertainty that follows a cancer diagnosis, and offers prepaid fuel cards for those in need, and behind these simple gifts of support, saying to those victims of this terrible disease: “We are a community that cares.”
The Blandin Employees for Life team holds many fundraising sale events throughout the year including a Valentine Rose Sale, Spring Plant Sale, and Wreath Sale. Theresa Major, Warehouse and Inventory Manager at UPM Blandin and BEFL team member says, “We appreciate all the help we get with this fundraising including Brokings Transport, located in Grand Rapids, who has kindly donated their truck and driver, year after year, to pick up and transport the plants for our spring sale. Our fundraiser would not be nearly as successful without their support.”
In 2006, a group of Blandin Employees formed a grass-roots team to fundraise for the American Cancer Society Relay for Life. “We realized that there was a void in our local community for support for those who are fighting cancer and struggling with basic costs like transportation to medical appointments,” says Glenda Olson long time BEFL team member and UPM Mill Sourcing Manager. The Blandin Relay for Life Team raised over $100,000 between 2006 and 2014 making them a top fundraiser in Itasca County for the American Cancer Society Relay for Life.
Their leading fundraiser is a fun golf challenge between MN Power and UPM Blandin. This event alone has raised over $58,000 since 2006.
In late 2014, Blandin Relay for Life took a new direction in fundraising by establishing a local cancer fund at the Grand Rapids Area Community Foundation and calling their new team Blandin Employees for Life. The funds remain local and available to Grand Rapids and surrounding area citizens experiencing difficulties while dealing with cancer.
This year, the Brokings Transport truck showed up on Monday, May 7 and was greeted by many Blandin Employees for Life volunteers. “The flowers were beautiful! Full, hanging baskets with vibrant reds, sunny yellows and orange blossoms just kept coming out of that truck,” notes Brianna Spry, the Community Foundation’s Program Administrator.
As Theresa Major, Warehouse/Inventory Manager at Blandin Paper, looks for other rooms in which to store the plants, she says, “We really care about people and their families who have to go through the pain that comes with cancer. Anything we can do to ease some of that hardship is worth all the work this team does – and we are successful because the Blandin Employees for Life is just that – a team.”
The Blandin Employees for Life team wishes to thank all who support their fundraising efforts. In turn, the volunteers provide support to those who are experiencing cancer. People residing in Grand Rapids and the surrounding communities who are being treated for cancer can apply for Blandin Employees for Life funds by filling out an application through the Grand Rapids Area Community Foundation website at www.gracf.org.
Be sure to check out the Community Foundation’s Facebook page to see videos of the Blandin Employees for Life volunteers unloading the Brokings Transport truck full of flowers.