By Cass Rains, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
Junior Welfare League of Enid nearly has met its fundraising goal to establish its downtown location and increase the good it does in the community.
In August of last year, JWL Enid purchased the building at 121 N. Grand as the new location for its consignment shop, Return Engagement.
Since then, improvements have been under way and the longtime Enid organization has raised 84 percent of what it needs to finish the project, Building Chairwoman Jessica Edwards said.
“We have about $82,000 left to raise,” Edwards said. “We’ve currently raised $341,000, as of Nov. 26.”
She said the organization had been looking for a new location since December 2009. They purchased the building at 121 N. Grand last year, and since have put on a new roof, as well as consulted with an architectural and design professional.
The project is composed of two parts, because the building also is composed two parts, a north and south side, Edwards said.
“We’ll move all of our stuff in, and we’ll start operating our store out of there,” she said, noting construction will be ongoing on the north building.
Eventually, a wall will be removed and both areas will contain the Return Engagement store. The new project will contain a large retail space, a sorting room for incoming items to be priced and a loading area where donations and consignments can be dropped.
Edwards said there are numerous ways the public can help with the project.
“There is a misnomer that members can only donate items,” she said. “Members can consign items, but anyone can donate to Return Engagement.”
Monetary donations, which entirely are tax deductible, also can be made to the Junior Welfare League Building Fund. Donations can be sent in care of JWL to 201 W. Garriott, Enid, OK 73701.
There are also fundraisers planned for next year, including a 5K run in February.
The Warm Your Heart 5K run is set for Feb. 2, with early registration open until Jan. 30. The run benefits Women’s Heart Health and the JWL Building Fund.
“It was very successful last year,” Edwards said. “It fills that niche for people who are looking for local ways of keeping in shape and supporting a good cause.”
The Warm Your Heart run is a 5K chip-timed race, circling through downtown Enid and beginning at the new Return Engagement location. The run also is a USA Track and Field-certified course. Hot chocolate, other refreshments and door prizes will be available after the race, and American Heart Association will have information at a fair held afterward.
Rates are available for individuals, couples and a sleep-walker category, for those who don’t run but still want a T-shirt.
“It's a good event,” Edwards said. “It’s not just run the race and go home.”
JWL Enid again will host the Legacy Links Golf Tournament in the summer.
Edwards said Junior Welfare League of Enid has actively been raising funds for the building project, but some are hesitant to donate to “brick and mortar” projects.
“All of the sales at our consignment shop funds all these projects we are a part of,” she said. “A bigger store and better location means more sales, and is a direct correlation to being able to give back even more.”
Since it was formed 82 years ago, JWL Enid has given more than $2.5 million back to the Enid community. Making a donation to the building fund would be felt exponentially over time, Edwards said.
“That donation will multiply over the years and years, because that bigger store means more revenue is generated and more is given back,” she said. “We need this bigger store so we can get more revenue, so we can give more back.”
Throughout January, JWL Enid is hosting workdays each weekend.
“That’s open to anyone who would like to help,” Edwards said. “It’s both Saturday and Sunday, and we usually begin at 9 a.m. and finish up about 2 or 3 in the afternoon.”
The first weekend of January is set for construction projects at the building. Cleaning up and installing fixtures will be done Jan. 12-13, and moving days are Jan. 19-20, with Atwoods providing trucks to move items from the old store to the new store.
The last weekend of January has been set aside for an everything-must-go sale.
“The city is demolishing our building, so literally everything must go,” Edwards said. “If someone wants the pickets off the fence, they can have them.”
Those wishing to donate time for the workdays can do so by contacting Kim O’Neill at firstname.lastname@example.org.