As y'all know, theCHIVE exists exclusively for a good laugh but every once in a while we have to give pause to things that actually matter - this is one of those moments. I received a letter last week from one of our Chivers, Kenny George. He's part of a volunteer squad in Fluvanna County, Virginia. He wrote:
I'm a loyal Chiver contacting you for help. We are one of the last all-volunteer rescue squads in the state of Virginia. We run Thanksgiving and Christmas, give up time with our families, and we're are running out of options. I wonder if there is someone in this country who can step up and help their own, as we do every day. I know this is not what the Chive is about, but as I said, we're out of options and, for some reason, I believe you all have big hearts. Thanks for at least reading this.
After I read it, I asked Kenny for some more information. The Fluvanna County Rescue Squad is made up of 40 volunteers, 30 of whom are EMT's that serve an extremely rural community. They charge nothing for their services, not one dime. Basically, Kenny explained, the residents in this poverty stricken area can't afford insurance and they wouldn't call an ambulance for help because they can't pay the bill (they are extremely prideful folks).
Because of the rough economy, local donations have dried up and government funding has been cut. Here at theCHIVE, I've really no interest in anything safe and expected. There's a hundred other big-time charities we could champion but that wouldn't really be Chivish at all, would it? In many ways, saving a random awesome group in a random county in the backwoods of Virginia is exactly what theCHIVE would do. And it's exactly what we should do.
I'm not going to put a financial goal on this. But if this goes big I promise I will get the elusive Shay Maria to become the Chivette of the Week. I don't exactly know how I'll make that happen but it's been on my to-do list for a while now and I'm pretty resourceful when it comes to these things.
Times are tough for many of us out there so let's keep things simple. Fluvanna County's website has a website that accepts donations via Paypal. Donate $1 to those guys today. If you don't have Paypal, they also accept credit card. If you can't do that, stick a dollar in an envelope and mail it to:
Fluvanna County Rescue Squad Inc.
P.O. Box 96
Palmyra, VA 22963
UPDATE: Kenny just told me that, after only an hour and a half, the response has been 'overwhelming'. We've already raised over $6,000. That total only includes Paypal donations. It doesn't account for international donations or people mailing it in. Unreal, Chivers. Keep it up!
Update #2: We just cracked the $10,000 mark in hours flat. People have started calling this 'Bucks for Bears'. The donations are now coming in even faster. This is getting insane.
Update #3 $20,000 raised and counting! They have still yet to receive most checks that were snail-mailed.
Kenny told me, “The back of an ambulance is a very scary place for a child. We keep teddy bears around for them to hold onto. These days, we don’t even have funding for teddy bears. We happily pay for them ourselves but it gives you an idea of how dire our situation has become.”
Over 10 million people visit theCHIVE every month. Let’s show Fluvanna County what we can do. I will be following up on this story for sure. TheCHIVE is making a company donation and our Chivers are also making personal donations. All we ask from y’all is one dollar.