Members of a University of Wyoming sorority traveled to a Fort Collins Macy’s on Thursday to drop off more than 75,000 letters to Santa for the store’s annual Believe campaign — which equates to more than $75,000 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Chi Omega sorority members brought the four boxes of letters to the Macy’s store at Foothills on Thursday morning. As part of the campaign, Macy’s donates $1 to the Make-A-Wish Foundation for each letter to Santa received in stores and online.
Since 2008, the Macy’s Believe campaign has raised more than $17 million for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which grants wishes for children with cancer and other severe illnesses. The company has donated a total of $112 million to Make-A-Wish since they began working together in 2003, helping grant more than 13,000 wishes, according to the company website.
University of Wyoming senior Alex Verosky, the sorority’s director of community service, and sophomore Libby Sanford, assistant director of community service, said the project to write and collect these letters was daunting but they had a lot of help from their chapter members and advisers.
“Seeing the number at the end makes all the hard work worth it,” Sanford said.
They started writing and collecting letters at the end of November, and by Dec. 6 — Macy’s National Believe Day — they collected 3,000 letters. All donations received before National Believe Day counted as double, so $6,000 will be donated for those letters, Make-A-Wish Colorado Development Coordinator Hannah Burrin said.
On Dec. 6, the sorority had a letter writing event at the Chi Omega house in Laramie, Wyoming, and people from the campus and larger community came to write letters, Sanford said.
High schools throughout Wyoming also contributed a lot of letters. Laramie High School students wrote more than 2,000 letters, Verosky said. Sorority members reached out to people they knew, especially at Colorado high schools, and they collected large contributions from friends and family out of Wyoming as well.
Before this donation, about 12,000 letters had been collected in Colorado this year, Burrin said.
For the last five years, Wyoming’s Chi Omega chapter has participated in the Believe campaign to raise money for Make-A-Wish, the sorority’s national philanthropy. Even though two years ago the members exceeded this year’s total with more than 80,000 letters, this year they met their goal of beating last year’s total of about 65,000, Verosky said.
In the past, the sorority has donated its letters to the Macy’s store in Casper, Wyoming, but chose this year to donate at the Fort Collins store.
“It’s great to be a part of the feel-good, give-back” things this time of year, Fort Collins Macy’s store manager Sarah Palmer said. “It puts things in perspective.”
Palmer, who has been with Macy’s for 20 years and has been store manager in Fort Collins for two years, said she’s had single donations of a few thousand dollars, but this is the largest single donation she’s seen.
The Macy’s Believe campaign has not yet reached the nationwide goal of 1 million letters as of Thursday, Burrin said. Letters can be dropped off in Macy’s stores or submitted online until Dec. 24 at macys.com/believe.
Sady Swanson covers crime, courts, public safety and more throughout Northern Colorado. You can send your story ideas to her at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @sadyswan. Support our work and local journalism with a digital subscription at Coloradoan.com/subscribe.
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