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Chester County Press

Baskets of Love Campaign aims to fund 'wish lists' for local organizations

12/02/2020 12:23PM ● By Richard Gaw

By Richard L. Gaw

Staff Writer

Since it was founded in April of 2013, Arts Holding Hands and Hearts (AHHAH) has been one of Chester County’s leading forces behind the effort to inspire disadvantaged youth and their families through the arts.

AHHAH is far from alone in their pursuit to put paints, microphones, stages, opportunity and open doors in front of young people, however. Recognizing that there is strength in partnerships, AHHAH has collaborated with several non-profit organizations on programs and workshops that endear to create positive pathways to promising and fulfilling futures.

Soon, the initiatives on the “wish list” of AHHAH and one dozen of these groups will all be in one basket.

Beginning on Dec. 14 and extending through Feb. 14, 2021, AHHAH will join with 11 of these partnering agencies for the Baskets of Love Campaign, a fundraising effort that will solicit public and private donations to fund the many initiatives on the “wish list” of these agencies throughout the county. 

In addition to AHHAH, those organizations participating in the campaign will include:  

Chester County CCIU Head Start, Chester County Futures, the Chester County Opportunities Industrialization Center (OIC), the Chester County Youth Center, A Child’s Light, Friends Association, GRANDFamilies, the Kennett Library, the Maternal and Child Health Consortium, Revival Productions and Trellis for Tomorrow.

“Having partners is what AHHAH has been about, and they have enabled us to bring our services to them, such as trauma sensitive and self-care workshops, cooking and writing programs, to name just a few,” said AHHAH founder Jan Michener. “Our mission is to combine arts, mindfulness and literacy to empower children, strengthen families and mobilize communities, so we began to look at the other organizations that are serving the same people with the same mission of equity, social and racial justice.

“We thought, ‘How can we come together and collaborate in order to make a larger impact for social good and the people we serve?’ We are looking to weave these organizations together.”

“Giving Tree Wish”

The campaign, Michener said, will empower donors to contribute to the organization of their choice by selecting one of its “Giving Tree Wish” programs that it would like to obtain funding for. Gift packages will be available at several contribution levels; for instance, $25 will go toward the purchase of five journal books for a future AHHAH creative writing program, and a contribution of $100 will pay for an upcoming AHHAH art therapy class.

The essence of the campaign is not just to raise money to help fund future initiatives, Michener said, but to create a collective wellspring -- a basket – of collaboration.

“We’re strengthening the foundation for the people we serve, and I believe so much in what each of these organizations is doing,” Michener said. “We’re working together and showing the true sense that it takes a village to raise a kid. We can’t do it entirely by ourselves, and yet if we all just remain in our silos, we will remain a single Band-Aid.

“The youth we work with need more than a Band-Aid. They need the support of other organizations to demonstrate that we’re working together for the greater good, to make sure that we can create an on-ramp of opportunities and possibilities, and provide the tools to succeed.”

The Baskets of Love Campaign begins on Dec. 14 and will conclude on Feb. 14, 2021. To learn more about the “Giving Tree Wish” programs for the organization of your choice, levels of contribution and how to make a donation, visit their website for complete information, or visit the Arts Holding Hands and Hearts website at www.ahhah.org. Donations will also be available to the Baskets of Love Campaign Organization of the Week. 

To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, email rg[email protected].