By Mason Curran
The Muscular Dystrophy Association has begun its annual “Shamrocks Against Dystrophy” fund raising campaign that runs from Feb. 14 to Mar. 17.
The MDA recruits different businesses to participate in the program, and then supplies the businesses with all of the necessary materials. Shoppers can purchase a green shamrock for $1 or a gold one for $5. The program benefits both the companies and the consumers.
“This program gives the companies a chance to be noticed with a nationally recognized health organization,” said Tyler Curtis, MDA district director, whose district covers the area from Salt Lake to St. George. “It shows the customers that the company is involved in the community and it gives a festive atmosphere in the store.”
Over 20 businesses participate in the program throughout the state. Some of these businesses are Albertsons, Village Inn, Burger King, Macey”s, and Kinko”s.
“Albertsons, Inc. chooses to get behind this 100 percent every year since it began,” said Marcia Price, store director for the Albertsons on 560 W. Center St. in Provo. “We participate every year and usually bring in $3,000 to $5,000.”
Businesses say they participate for the obvious reason: to help children.
“We participate to help the children,” said Victoria Hinogos, store manager for the Burger King on 1080 S. University Ave. “We have done it for the last three or four years and we see a lot of people donating.”
Consumers who choose to donate sign their name on a shamrock for it to hang in the store. The small donation might not dent the pocket books of consumers, but the money can add up for the MDA.
“The shamrocks allow every member of the community to support a good cause in some small, yet significant way,” said Tyler Curtis, MDA district director. “A shopper doesn”t even notice that extra one or five dollars on their grocery bill, but the people living with neuromuscular diseases notice the contribution when they utilize our services.”
Last year, the fundraiser brought in around $160,000, Curtis said. The money donated goes towards research, services and a yearly summer camp for the children with diseases.
The MDA is continually looking for treatments and possible cures for the diseases, Curtis said. The MDA also has a clinic at the University of Utah and uses money for wheelchairs, braces and other equipment.
The summer camp sponsored by the MDA, which brings over 100 youth and children per year, is held every year to provide a week of fun and to provide a getaway for both the children and the parents. Employees from Albertsons volunteer to participate in the camp every year, Price said.
The MDA also puts on a Labor Day telethon, a Harley ride and other events to raise money for their purposes. They are also looking for volunteers for the summer camp. MDA can be contacted for information about fundraisers or volunteer opportunities at 801-278-6200.