I talk regularly about the need for businesses, as well as individuals, to give back to the community. Often, my advice is to piggyback on an established event, which you can also ‘make your own.’ But sometimes it’s worth taking the leap and creating something out of the ordinary in the hope that it will raise funds for a cause you are passionate about, align with your values, and attract a healthy crowd.


 Not long ago, my friend, Cheri Plummer and I were talking about ways in which we could raise money for causes we believe in and have fun at the same time. We came up with the idea of organizing a Junk In Your Trunk event on Saturday, September 9th between 8am and 1pm where vendors are invited to sell their wares, with a focus on garage sale items, from their trunks. We approached Marine Bank 3120 Robbins Road and asked if we could use the parking lot– and they kindly said yes. We already knew we wanted to raise money (and awareness) for Compass for Kids, and so Junk In Your Trunk For A Cause was born.

Of course, once we’d planned the details, I got to creating a Facebook page, we’re working on a press release, Cheri will be posting onto all of the ‘for sale’ Facebook pages and we’re asking our nearest and dearest to help spread the word.

Compass for Kids, previously a program that existed at the Family Service Center launched as an independent non-profit last year. It is responsible for three major programs, which support at-risk children and families in Springfield School District 186. These include an after-school program with snacks, an evidence-based social-emotional curriculum lesson, academic time, life skills classes, and a healthy family-style dinner. Second, Camp Compass, a free summer program designed to improve reading and math skills and prevent learning loss over the summer months. And last, the backpack feeding program, a partnership between Compass, HSHS St. John's Hospital, and the Central Illinois Foodbank, which sends two breakfasts, two lunches, two snacks, and two dinners home with the children for the weekend.

Having been raised on a considerably affluent island in the British Channel, I feel it is my responsibility to give back, I know it is our duty as a business to support the efforts of others, and most of all I want to create a better place to live for our children. At Gem PR & Media we are constantly working towards projects that give back whether that’s through articles in Eighteen21.com, monetary contributions, or the time we give by sitting on boards, committees, and getting stuck in.

If you are interested in booking a spot at the inaugural Junk In Your Trunk For A Cause event here are the details: Parking lot spaces are available for people to bring their 'garage sale items'* to be sold out of their trunk. Each space is priced at $15 and spaces are limited to 30 sellers. Those who wish to reserve a space should send their check to Cheri Plummer at Lee O'Keefe Insurance Agency, Inc., 2501 Chatham Rd Ste. 100, Springfield IL 62704 by August 25th (please make the check out to Compass for Kids). Sellers are invited to set up from 7am and the car lot must be cleared by 2pm. Entry to the fundraiser will cost $3 per person (Kids 12 and under are free) or the donation of two non-perishable food items for the Compass for Kids food program.  

For more information visit Facebook.com/JunkInYourTrunkForACause or email Gemma Long at Gemma@GemPRMedia.com or Cheri Powers Plummer at CPlummer@LeeOKeefe.com. 

*Only items permitted by law can be sold. No guns, car seats, or baby cribs etc.