More than 7,000 toys will be given to deserving children in Skagit County this year through the local Toys for Tots program, and Northwest Hot Springs Spas has a part in brightening those celebrations.
“It makes us feel good to know that we can help with such a simple need, providing a child with a toy – something most of us take for granted,” said Dan Hyatt, who owns the stores in Burlington and Ferndale, Wash. with his wife, Cori.
For years, the Hyatts’ stores were drop-off locations for Toys for Tots and one or two spas were filled at each location during the drive period. But with the recession, donations slowed. In its place, Hyatt started an annual benefit concert that would raise needed funds.
“They can do so much more with cash,” he said. Large stores give the nonprofit deals and discounts, so the organization is able to stretch the dollars it receives to help even more children.
The concert series started in 2009, with a performance featuring singer/songwriter LeRoy Bell, whose music Hyatt’s daughter, Sarah, introduced him to. In 2012, Northwest Hot Springs Spas teamed with other local businesses to have the concert at a local winery in the summer, and the event went from raising a few thousand dollars to nearly $14,000.
Since then, fundraising has increased every year. The 2013 concert earned $23,724 for Toys for Tots. This past summer’s event raised more than $25,000. The 2015 concert planning already is in full swing and is scheduled for Aug. 29.
But, efforts from this summer aren’t quite complete.
Funds for Toys for Tots are raised a few different ways: with the sale of tables at $1,000 each, individual seating for $25, a silent auction and a wine auction. Plus, Hyatt donated a hot tub for raffle. Tickets were sold at the summer concert and have been for sale at partnering businesses throughout the fall. The winner of the Hot Springs Hot Spot SX will be drawn on Dec. 6.
Hyatt said the event has become the local event of the summer and referred to the partners who put it on – including the winery, which donates the space for the concert – as the “dream team.”
“We have this down like clockwork,” he added.
Since the annual concert’s inception, the budget of the local Toys for Tots has more than doubled, just from the fundraising effort.