Not too long ago, in my quest to secure more donated items for Habitat’s two ReStores, I created a press release asking the community to donate items such as furniture and other household items. As I came close to finishing it, I remembered what one former employee had told me several years ago about an item that never stayed on the shelves. She said, “Helen, we can’t keep ‘Precious Moments’ figurines in stock. When they are donated, they sell immediately!” Though that was told to me six years ago, I decided to include “Precious Moments” on my list of desired items.
My press release was picked up by the local paper the next day, and by the time I arrived at work, the phones had begun to ring. I was thrilled!
Generally, the months following the holidays are slow in terms of furniture donations. The bulk of the calls don’t happen until close to Easter when people decide to “spring clean.” So the slew of calls we received, made me very happy indeed.
However, I knew something wasn’t quite right when my leadership team lined up outside of my office that morning with devilish laughter in their eyes. They informed me that many of the calls that were coming in were from people who were looking to donate their “Precious Moments.”
I was confused. I said, “That’s great!” And then they said, “Helen, while some people do buy ‘Precious Moments,’ – there are many other hot items out there. What made you identify them?”
After telling them my story, they understood. But they were not going to let me off the hook easily. I started to receive “Precious Moments” photos on my phone. Text after text, complete with photos, came my way.
A few of the little gems showed up on my desk and in the front lobby. And then, comically, I began to receive texts of “UnPrecious Moments” – spoofs on good deeds.
Week after week, we have laughed over these cute little figurines and even in our tensest times, we find ourselves finding humor and fun in my press release.
In the end, the donations, overall, came through. Many couches, tables, lamps, mirrors, construction items, building supplies and other practical items were dropped off by kind men and women or picked up by the Habitat staff from generous donors.
And customers, by the droves, came to the ReStores and bought these items – thereby raising dollars for Habitat’s mission of building community, homes, and hope.
Clearly the press release was effective and the community responded. However, I have a feeling that the “Precious Moments” debacle will not be over soon. My birthday is coming up in May, and I can already see a cute little figurine in my future.