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CAMPaign for Change Launches!

By: Geoff Kretchmer

When I was in 5th grade, I played the drums. I only chose the drums because all my close friends played them as well; but without a doubt, I was the worst of all of them. One thing that stands out in my band experience was Mrs. Young, my music teacher, organizing us kids to go out and collect Campbell’s Soup labels for our music class. For those of you who may be too young to remember, Campbell’s had a program, “Labels for Education,” which in its day, contributed over $100 million in school supplies across the country. I remember working so hard to collect as many labels as we could, because the more we collected, the more instruments and supplies our class would receive.

I have a vivid memory of walking around the streets of Huntington Woods with my masking tape and my sharpie. If my neighbors were willing to donate their Campbell’s Soup labels, the least I could do was to mark the can, so they would know whether it’s split pea or chicken dumpling when it came time to open it. It was a little scary to knock on doors, but also really motivating to know we were doing something special for our school and each other. That lesson had a lasting impact on me and helped shape my understanding of the difference a single person can make – especially a child.

Fast forward to today, where fundraising is a huge part of my role as the President of Tamarack Camps. Each year we raise more than $800,000 in camper scholarships to make sure that any child who wants to go to Tamarack, can. This is only possible thanks to the generosity of our community.

At camp this summer, our kids will be learning about the Jewish tradition of tzedakah: our shared responsibility to help one another and give back to a place that is special in their hearts. We have created a variety of programs and activities, including making tzedakah boxes in the shape of our iconic green buses; and when campers and staff return home, they’ll collect change from couch cushions, car seats, sidewalks…and by asking friends and neighbors for help filling their boxes.

This is the CAMPaign for Change; just like my generation collected soup labels, our campers and staff will collect coins for camper scholarship. We are fortunate to have an amazing committee of all-stars leading this effort: Shelby Bruseloff and Erin Simmerman as co-chairs; Brooke Leiberman, Hallie Steckler, and Carly Weinstock joining them as committee members (pictured below). Our committee has created special tzedakah boxes, which were generously donated by three siblings and their families. We kicked off our CAMPaign for Change at the Send a Kid to Tamarack (virtual) event this past Wednesday, delivering over 200 tzedakah boxes to the doors of people who registered for the event.

Imagine the difference we can make together, with thousands of tzedakah boxes out in the community after the summer. If each box represents $100 in donations, we could send a whole lot of kids to camp! I invite you to join us in “collecting change for collective change” by filling your own box for Tamarack Camps. Your energy and generosity help us move forward; I am grateful for your continued support of our agency.

To learn more about the CAMPaign for Change, please contact Lori Davidson-Mertz, Director of Annual Giving, at or 248-227-7889.