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OPT effort making a difference

I have a big family and whenever I need them they are always there.

For Ironton in Bloom’s June garden tour, although their volunteer efforts are concentrated elsewhere, one sister supplied a big beautiful bouquet for the refreshment table from her flower garden, other family members baked homemade cookies and attended the event. One even went down and scrubbed down the museum porch before the big day in 90 degree plus weather!

My church family is the same. It never ceases to amaze me how both will take time out of their busy lives to support whatever it is I’m doing. I try to reciprocate, but they are so thoughtful, it is hard to keep up.

What is just as amazing is the support the Bloom organization gets from businesses and residents of this city.

Fundraising is, by far, the most difficult and time-consuming job we do and we are always looking for ways to simplify the process. Last year, Bloom member Ralph Kline proposed a plan he called OPT (Ownership, Pride, Teamwork) wherein we would ask local businesses to pledge a certain amount they felt they could comfortably contribute every year toward the purchase and maintenance of the downtown floral display.

Knowing that businesses are constantly bombarded with requests to support good causes, and knowing how extra dollars are hard to come by in today’s economy, I was skeptical. But I kept my doubts to myself and we proceeded to inform businesses about OPT and asked them to pledge a yearly amount.

I greatly underestimated our business community! In this first year of implementation, we have 40 OPT sponsors! Twelve of them pledged a thousand dollars or more. This amount entitles them to an attractive sign placed in a prominent place downtown, naming these 12 donors. (You may have already seen these around town.) The remaining OPT individual, club, and business sponsors pledged a minimum of $200 annually and many support us with $400 to $800 gifts.

This leaves Bloom members more able to concentrate on projects that will enhance the city, thereby encouraging visitors who are a boost to our economy.

Some people base their belief in God on the fact that there seems to be an innate trait in all of us to want to do good. We have found this to be true abundantly among our many faithful supporters, from these OPT businesses to the many people who slip a small donation in an envelope whenever they can.

We treasure all supporters — for the funding security they give us to continue our work, and especially for the vote of confidence continuing donors show in the future of Ironton.

If you would like to join OPT, call Carol Allen at 532-4495. Donations may be sent to Ironton In Bloom, Inc., Box 4599, Ironton, Ohio, 45638.

Onward and Upward!


Judy Sanders is an Ironton resident and a volunteer with the Ironton In Bloom organization.