Windermere Centralia Breaks Record Helping Local Schoolchildren

Windermere Centralia has long supported local schoolchildren by providing backpacks and school supplies. In 2016, they gave $2,000 to Pat Soderquist, Centralia School District Homeless Liaison. They hoped to double that donation the following year.

KELA/KMNT contacted Windermere Centralia and asked to be a part of the school supply drive, helping increase community giving to an amazing $15,000 this year. Photo courtesy: Windermere Centralia.

In 2017, they were pleased to do slightly better than double, raising and donating $4,400. Again, they pledged to double it in 2018. However, this year, they didn’t raise $8,800 as anticipated – they shot way beyond, raising approximately $15,000 in cash and school supplies!

“It just exploded this year,” exclaims Laree Neeley, Windermere Foundation representative for Windermere Centralia.

Each Windermere office has a foundation representative and its individual agents contribute a percentage of their paychecks to the charity. “It’s one of the largest funds in Washington State,” says Windermere Centralia Owner Max Vogt with pride.

The agents at Windermere Centralia determine which local charities they want to support. Out of the agent’s personal donations, any and all administration fees are paid. Because of that, 100 percent of all donations collected from the public go back to our local community.

Miss Lewis County, Marisa Hall, learned how to make balloon animals and spent time visiting with children during the fundraiser. Photo courtesy: Windermere Centralia.

Over the years, Windermere Centralia has collected and distributed school supplies and backpacks for local kids in need. In 2017, they were voted Realtor Office of the Year for their positive community work.

KELA/KMNT radio station asked if they could help this year; they love Windermere Centralia’s charitable work. A partnership was formed and a plan set into action. The radio station publicized the event and did a live broadcast from the site. They also parked a school bus in the lot for visual effect. The event was called “Make the ‘Change’ for Lewis County.”

People donated several thousand dollars-worth of school supplies at the event, and even more cash. Of the $15,000 raised, about $10,500 was in cash. Now Windermere Centralia can help not only the Centralia School district, but also White Pass, Napavine, Onalaska, Winlock, Toledo and Mossyrock.

Neeley had fun at the all-day event and enjoyed interacting with people who stopped by to donate. “One little girl, maybe five-years-old or so, was so excited,” Neeley says. “Her mom had brought her to drop off school supplies, and she had a handful of them. She was so excited to help.”

Lewis County Commissioner Edna Fund stopped by to join in the fun. Photo courtesy: Windermere Centralia.

Excitement in the Windermere Centralia office is through the roof. Agent Sue Romo says, “It was nice seeing the community come together, people stopping and asking what we were doing, saying how nice it was.” Romo reported that other realtors stopped by to give cash donations as well. Title Guaranty of Lewis County stopped by and donated $500 cash. They said they’d heard about the foundation and thought it was wonderful.

Agent Kelvin Wallin used his balloon talents to add some fun to the day. “It was awesome to be able to raise so much,” he says. “We were originally limited to what we could do, but now we can do so much more. And I got to teach Miss Lewis County how to make balloon animals,” he adds with a smile.

“It was hard to only be able to help one school district, so this is so exciting to help others,” says Neeley. “We’re giving cash to each of the schools as well as school supplies. That way if a kid needs something they wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford, the school can help with that as well. It’s great to grow so much and help the community. We hope it keeps going up; we are so excited about how much we are able to do. We want schools to know that they can call Windermere and get help if they need it. That’s why we want to continue growing, so we can be there for them. We want them all to know we are here to help.”

Anyone can contribute to the Windermere Foundation. Simply come into the office and write a check, which will be sent to the Foundation for processing. Recently, a home seller decided to contribute a portion of his proceeds to the Foundation. Sellers are always welcome to do that and instruct which school they would like their donation to go to.

Windermere Centralia plans to make next year even bigger and better, and KELA/KMNT has committed to helping from now on. “It’s a very loving concept – easy, reliable and growing,” says Vogt with a smile. “Donors can rest easy knowing that 100% of their donation will come back to be spent in Lewis County.”

Windermere Centralia
411 W. Main St.

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