CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — With the pandemic haven taken a toll on charitable organizations, a Corpus Christi business is making it a point to help raise money and awareness for one particular group that’s been deeply affected by COVID-19 and vandalism.
Nikki Riojas, owner of Made in Corpus Christi, said 50 percent of all proceeds from the sales of their Holiday Hope Collection will go to the Salvation Army of the Coastal Bend.
“I think that the community has been so supportive of our shop and all of our local creatives that I wanted to be able to give back,” she said. “We also know that people want to help. If they are able to help and also get something in return — that just makes it even easier to do that.
The collection, which features a holiday-inspired mirador design will be on select products such as Christmas ornaments, stationary and coffee cups. It was designed by graphic artist Gilbert Cantu of Can2 Creative Co., and will be available until the end of the year.
Riojas, who has previously served on the Salvation Army's advisory board, said she understands the organization's struggles.
“We’re well-aware of all of the hard work that the Salvation Army does, and everything that they do for our community,” she said. “So it was a nice way for us to partner with someone who we were already familiar with, and knew would do good with the money that was provided to them.”
Salvation Army of the Coastal Bend Corps Officer Lt. Laura Gesner said fundraising has been a challenge. She said the Holiday Hope fundraiser will tie directly to the group's Red Kettle program, which funds one-quarter of the local Salvation Army chapter's annual budget.
“2020 has brought on several different challenges with fundraising for us because of people losing income, themselves, and not able to give as much as they have in the past,” she said.
The loss of funding is further complicated by the increase in need.
“We (also) have a lot of extra, additional requests for assistance through our homeless prevention programs: people needing help with paying bills or people finding themselves in need, maybe for the first time, and so we have a challenge of meeting those additional needs more than our average year,” she said.
After being handed a sticker bearing the logo, she looked at the familiar graphic, saying she was proud to be associated with it.
“This ornament — this design — encompasses that there is hope,” she said. “Raising funds through this beautiful design, and through people purchasing from Made In Corpus Christi, gives hope to people that they may never see on the other side. They may never see the people who actually receive those funds that are raised — that hope — but they can know that they are participating in giving hope to people who need it the most.”
Despite the challenges they’ve endured, Gesner said the fact that a local business is working to give the organization more exposure has been uplifting.
“It’s amazing that this local store, this local business wants to help participate in the best way that they know how by having this fundraiser for us,” she said. "People need to see hope — people need to know that there is hope for a future.”