Giving back to military families is my absolute favorite part of running this business and our 2021 charitable donation makes my heart very happy. It’s been six years since we made our first charitable donation in support of fellow military families and boy have we come a long way since then!
I know, this may sound a little strange, but I don’t search out a charitable organization to give to each year – I wait until it comes to me. And this year was no different. I gave it a little thought, waited, and trusted that an opportunity would come along to fill a need in the military community.
A few weeks later, I was still waiting and felt like maybe I should give up this crazy process and just choose an organization. So I said out loud – to no one in particular, “I need help here….I don’t have a clue who to share our 2021 donation with and I need a suggestion.” I kid you not – 30 minutes later, an email from Holbook Farms arrived in my inbox.
I was already familiar with Holbrook Farms – in fact they were the recipient of our charitable donation a few years ago. However, this year they had a bigger and more ambitious mission. After a year of hosting virtual retreats due to the pandemic, Holbrook Farms was gearing up to host their 2021 in-person summer retreats for Gold Star wives and they had been raising money to cover the travel costs for Gold Star children to attend a nearby camp while their mothers stay at Holbrook Farms.
That fundraiser had raised $4,860 of their $7,000 goal. Holbrook Farms was $2,140 from reaching their goal. And we had $4,100 to give. It was the sign I’d been looking for.
It is always an honor to make this annual donation and I couldn’t be more thrilled to provide it to Holbrook Farms in support of the ‘Survivors of the Fallen 2021’ retreat this year. Our incredible community of loyal customers – filled with fellow military families just like mine - who believe in our mission of supporting military service members and their families are truly the ones who make this possible.
Located in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, Holbrook Farms is a working farm, bed & breakfast-style event center that serves as the primary location for 'Survivors of Heroes' retreats. The organization was founded by Air National Guard officers Micaela and Matt Brancato, whose vision for hosting retreats for military survivors began in 2011 after military-related fatalities of friends.
Holbrook Farms will welcome two groups of military widows to the 2021 summer “Survivors of Heroes Retreat” and will cover the costs to allow 15 Gold Star children to attend camp while their parents stay at Holbrook Farms. Holbrook is also hosting its first “Sisters of the Fallen” Retreat during the summer.
“Our mission at Holbrook Farms Retreats is to ensure that every Survivor, Gold Star Kid, & Sister of the Fallen feel special and that their sacrifice will never be forgotten. Sharing a Charliemadison Originals piece or knowing their team sponsored a guest is such a gift. It's the best example of how we can truly do big things together,” said Micaela Brancato.
Our 2021 donation to Holbrook Farms brings our total charitable donations to more than $17,000 over a six-year period along with an additional $5,000 in product donations to support fundraising events for military-affiliated non-profit groups.
I am so proud to be the steward of these donations each year, as they represent the heart of the Charliemadison Community and what makes our business special. A single military family bringing together fellow military families to make a difference in the community that we are all a part of and that has shaped who we are today. The military heroes that make up my family and yours are very proud indeed!
All photos of Holbrook Farms & their retreats courtesy of Holbrook Farms.