Last year, my son Jared, for his Bar Mitzvah project, decided to raise money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which provides wishes for kids with life-theatening illnesses. The main crux of his campaign was to collect donations of airline miles (since so many wishes involve travel).
Jared kicked off his fund-raising drive with a bake sale, and smartly chose the day of the first Hoboken Lepre-Con. With some trepidation, we set up a table outside our apartment on 1st and Clinton Street, loaded with goodies that Jared and his grandma spent all night baking - cupcakes, cookies, chocolate covered pretzels, and brownies. I say with trepidation because in the past we had been wary about venturing outside on St. Patrick's Day parade day - my wife and son were nearly hit by a beer bottle thown off a roof the previous year.
We were pleasantly surprised. We were planted on 1st and Clinton, surrounded by bars and more than a few house parties. There were police officers all over the place, and while there was a steady stream of celebrants, there were very few I would call over-the-top drunk. We were there from 12:30-5:30 pm, and Jared managed to raise $1003 (at $3 per cupcake, $2 for cookies, and $1 for chocolate covered pretzels). Many people contributed money and wouldn't take any cupcakes. The number of people, drunk or not, who commended him for doing this was heartwarming.
Best of all, it launched Jared's successful effort to raise 300,000 miles for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which provided 6 round-trip flights for Wish children.
This year, Jared has decided to raise money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation again, this time with a group of his friends from Elysian Charter as part of their "Improve a Life" project. They will once again be on the corner of 1st and Clinton on March 2nd selling goodies they will be up all night baking, and taking airline mile donations. Please stop by and help them meet their goal of raising more than $1,000 cash and 100,000 airline miles.
Wouldn't it be great if more kids were out on Lepre-Con 2013 holding bake sales and other charity-related events. Families and people doing good things for those less fortunate seems like a better way to celebrate than just having a drunkfest.
Most people who come into Hoboken from out of town seem to have money in their pockets. If a 12-year-old boy with cupcakes and cookies can make a thousand bucks in 5 hours, imagine how much could be made if similar efforts were done throughout town. Maybe Hoboken would even get some positive press for a change.