All the class wanted to do was raise $700.
That was their goal, to help put on a charity event for Love Your Melon, giving people an opportunity to learn.
Five students in event marketing, a class at Winona State, had a semester-long project that shows students what it takes to put on an event for charity.
The group didn’t make $700. Instead, they raised around $2,000, with the class not taking any of the money.
The class and Love Your Melon hosted a pancake luncheon at the Eagles Club in Winona, where anyone could come.
Winona area community members could enjoy all-you-can-eat pancakes, and getting a serving of eggs and sausage, for $8 for adults and $4 for children.
Marlene Werden said the tickets were given to her at a car show, but said she would’ve come anyway to support her alma mater.
Werden, a graduate of WSU’s nursing program in 1999 with her son Matt, came to the event unaware of what Love Your Melon is.
“I think it’s a very good cause,” Werden said after talking to representatives of Love Your Melon at the event.
Robert Jarvis, a member of the class said trying to tell their key demographic, senior citizens, what this charity is was their biggest challenge.
“I will say, the hardest thing was the older generation,” Jarvis said. “It’s unbelievable how many people think its breast cancer awareness or something along those lines.”
Jarvis, a senior at WSU, said the luncheon wasn’t their first idea. In fact, they started with an event similar to the Olympic games, where parents and children could compete for prizes.
After their first idea fell through, the students tried to create an event similar to bingo. Jarvis said they couldn’t get around the gambling laws in Minnesota and felt a pancake luncheon would suffice.
Jarvis emphasized the class and Love Your Melon were not affiliated in any way prior to this event and said the group has been great to work alongside.
With the class handling the process of setting up the charity event, Abigail Greislinger, the crew captain of the Winona area Love Your Melon group, focused on trying to spread the word about their company.
Love Your Melon is associated with 740 college campus’ in the Campus Crew Program. As a crew captain, Greislinger said she has the most responsibility of the group.
“As a captain, I am in charge of planning and overseeing donation events, household visits, superhero adventures, running crew meeting biweekly, and managing all crew members,” Greislinger said.
One of the members of the class, Jethro Roemer, reached out to Greislinger about the possibility of setting up a fundraiser for Love Your Melon and they jumped at the opportunity.
Greislinger said the group can’t accept “direct donations,” but rather all of the money from the luncheon will go to their partnering organizations Pinky Swear Foundation and CureSearch.
Like Werden, Greislinger had no idea what Love Your Melon was, until she received one of their hats as a Christmas present.
“I first heard about LYM (Love Your Melon) halfway through my freshman year, when I received a LYM hat for Christmas from my mom,” Greislinger said. “She told me what it was and a bit of background information and I immediately went online to find out more. After reading the story, I was so inspired.”
To add to the success, between the class and Love Your Melon, they had everything for the breakfast was donated.
“We’ve been super lucky that everything has been donated by a bunch of people in the community,” Jarvis said. “Places like Midtown (Foods) donated a $50 gift card. The Pet Center donated a $50 check for food. KwikTrip donated a lot of eggs. My parents have donated and Jenna’s parents have donated. We have not spent a dime.”
Even the venue was donated for free Jarvis said and felt the location was “perfect” because he had previous experience going to the Eagles club events.
“My family is a part of the Eagles back home and they ran a lot of charity events all ready,” Jarvis said. “They had a demographic that we wanted to target and the set up.”
At the luncheon, the Love Your Melon group also had a silent auction, where people could bid on items that were donated from surrounding businesses like Elmaro Vineyard and Winona 7.
Werden said she walked around, after eating, writing her name on many bidslips of items, as a way to get other people to begin the bidding process.
Jarvis said the original totals for people coming were at 70 for advanced tickets, but estimated they had around “220 or 230 people”. Jarvis said he could not specify since the ticket stubs were thrown away, so finding an accurate total of people was difficult for the class.
Where they received the most money was in ticket sales around $1,130. The silent auction raised around $670 and they also received “a couple hundred” in donations.
Werden herself is involved with numerous charities, including the Catholic Daughters of Americas, and enjoyed learning about the charity and, more than anything, “loved the food.”