Home Headline Feature Cole Collection brings Christmas to local foster children

Cole Collection brings Christmas to local foster children

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The Cole Collection is an organization that raises money to buy Christmas gifts for the foster children in Allen County. Photo courtesy Megan Rockey.

Annual event honors legacy of Virginia Galvin Crouse

Event details

  • What: Cole Collection annual event
  • Where: City Club, 7 Public Square, Lima, OH 45801
  • When: November 12 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Why: To raise money to buy Christmas gifts for foster children in Allen County.
  • How: Purchase a ticket for $50 by contacting Megan Rockey at 614.353.4322 or megan@rockeypaper.com. 100 percent goes to the foster children in Allen County

Taylor Johnson

LIMA –Megan Rockey was up at 4 a.m. feeding her newborn daughter when she had her a-ha moment.

“The idea just came to me as I was sitting there and then everything just started falling into place,” she said.

At the time, Rockey had been a part of an annual shopping event in Lima that featured local vendors and holiday-inspired gift ideas. While the event was a fun night out with friends, Rockey knew it could be something more. Something that could have a lasting impact on the community.

That’s when she thought of her grandmother, Virginia Galvin Crouse, who passed away on Sept. 5, 2012.

“My grandmother had passed away a little less than a year before, and I was finding that after she passed, her impact on me was more profound than it had ever been,” she said.

In her 93 years of life, Virginia Galvin Crouse was a shining spirit of generosity for the people in the Lima community.

“Her core values were faith, family and philanthropy,” said Rockey.

What many people did not know about Crouse was that she was adopted.

“She didn’t tell many people,” said Rockey. “But it was not because she was ashamed by any means. She was just very matter of fact, and her parents were her parents.”

With her grandmother in mind, Rockey reached out to Allen County Children’s Services (ACCS) to learn about the organization and see how she could incorporate them into the event. Once she learned about the foster care segment of the organization, she knew that was it.

10660338_299457510256962_8218285551215794107_nFrom there, Rockey’s a-ha moment evolved into what is now known as the Cole Collection, an organization that raises money to buy Christmas gifts for the foster children in Allen County. The name Cole was chosen because six generations of women in Rockey’s family, including Crouse, have the middle name Cole after Crouse’s first cousin Cole Porter.

The first Cole Collection event in November 2014 raised $15,000 for foster children in Allen County.

Rockey said the day of the event, she received an anonymous check for $5,000, making it possible to buy Christmas gifts for all 217 kids that were in the foster care system at the time.

Tickets to the Cole Collection event are $50 each. The purchase of one ticket guarantees Christmas gifts for one foster child in Allen County. 100 percent of each ticket sold goes directly to the child. Half of each ticket goes to purchasing toys, the other half goes to purchasing clothes.

During the first event, in a conversation with Michelle Vorhees of ACCS, Rockey learned that prior to the Cole Collection event, foster kids had historically not received gifts from the agency. While there are many wonderful programs that give gifts to the other facets of ACCS, the foster kids were usually not included.

“I was floored because I had no idea there was a need for something like this,” she said.

Her choice of words are a clear indication her grandmother would be proud.

“[My mother’s] motto was ‘Find a need and fill it,’” said Crouse’s son, David, in an interview shortly after her death in 2012. “She was a committee of one and felt a very strong sense of being intimately involved on the local level,” he said.

In the days following the first event, Rockey received 217 thank you notes – one from each child. One note in particular affirmed the event was making an impact.

“It was the very last note I opened, and a picture fell out with a girl holding a unicorn stuffed animal,” she said.

The stuffed animal was one Rockey and her son picked out together to give to the young girl.

Photo courtesy Megan Rockey from the 2014 Cole Collection event.

Photo courtesy Megan Rockey from the 2014 Cole Collection event.

“The note said ‘thank you so much for the gifts, we love them all, and Sarah* sleeps with the unicorn every night.’ That’s when it really hit me,” she said.

When asked what she thinks her grandmother would think of all this, Rockey said she wonders the same thing.

“I was asking my uncle about this, because she was a private person, and I wanted to be sure she would be okay with me sharing her story,” she said.

“He said ‘She would be the first one buying a ticket and she would be the first one entering the door the night of the event.’ So, I think she would be honored and very proud,” she said.

This year’s fundraising goal is $10,000. However, Rockey hopes the event will raise enough money to buy Christmas gifts for all 250 kids currently in ACCS foster care, which would be $12,500.

The 2015 Cole Collection event is on Thursday, November 12 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the City Club. The event is a holiday shopping theme, with 10 -12 vendors, including clothing and accessories from Betsey’s Boutique in Rockford, handmade aprons, handmade scarves and knit hats, pottery, hand lettered prints, Stella & Dot jewelry, 31 gifts, Ava Anderson skincare, and Mary Kay products. All the vendors at the event have agreed to donate 20 percent of everything purchased to the Cole Collection.

To purchase a ticket or to send a donation, please contact Megan Rockey at 614.353.4322 or megan@rockeypaper.com.

Some vendors have already opened up online stores to benefit the Cole Collection prior to the event. Shop any of the stores below and 20 percent of your purchase will go to the Cole Collection:

For additional information, visit The Cole Collection Event Facebook page.

The Cole Collection committee: Sheridan Balyeat, Holli Ellis, Sherri Fischer, Kelly Frost, Alyson Harruff, Holly Hefner, Jaye McCain, Karen Miller, Mandy Pasion, Paula Quatman, Linda Staley, Stephanie Stolly, Brandi Trueblood and Mary Trueblood

*name has been changed for privacy