With generous Winter donations our total crept up steadily from $7000 to $9000, taking our puzzle over the magic 60 pieces mark – almost 2/3 of the way there! Then Spring well and truly “blossomed” for Jigsaw and suddenly the prospect of counting down the remaining pieces has become a very real and exciting prospect!
Firstly, some dear friends held a lovely big sunny picnic day at their cottage in the country and quickly turned it into a FUN-raiser surprise for our bear! With a giant bonfire to burn before the summer fire restrictions, the honour of lighting the bonfire was raffled off for Jigsaw. Guests quickly “warmed” to the idea of helping our bear and, along with some other raffle items generously donated on the spur of the moment, a quick $250 was raised and joyfully celebrated.
Then, on Sunday, October 10, after months of preparation, donations of assorted goods and with the fabulous support of many friends – before, during and after – we booked a double stall at the highly successful Camberwell Trash and Treasure Market and in five and half hours raised a whopping total of $2080!!! After expenses, we netted $1940. Suddenly our overall total has jumped from $9316 to $11,256.
The market was a full-on experience: our finely-tuned team arrived at 5 am to set up the stall (an art in itself to do well), with reinforcements arriving mid-morning. Hundreds of people stopped to read the posters and printouts we displayed and to find out more about bear bile farming. Many took away the Animals Asia Foundation (AAF) pamphlets and our own AdoptAMoonBear business card. While there were quite a few people who knew about bear bile farming (and mentioned recent documentaries on TV), there were hundreds who had no idea of the atrocious abuse of Moon Bears. Every one of those people will have been touched in some way by their interaction with our stall and Jigsaw’s story, and hopefully some will be moved to become more permanent supporters of AAF.
People expressed their compassion for the plight of the bears through their generosity. Shoppers came to the stall specifically to donate money (ie without purchasing anything), some almost in tears as they quickly gave us their donation. Others gave us back their change. Quite a few shoppers looked determinedly for something to buy, just so they could support the bears! A lady was overheard at the other end of the market (and it is a HUGE venue), talking excitedly about the “wonderful people saving the Moon Bears up the other end of the market!”, while showing her purchase (from our stall) to her friends. And a woman with 2 small children suggested they each buy one soft toy for 50 cents while encouraging them to donate the remaining 50 cents of their $1 coins.
The money raised turned over 12 more pieces of our Jigsaw, bringing the total to 72! Suddenly there only 22 pieces to go!!
All the hard work required to bring our market stall into being was worth every cent we made for our beautiful, long-suffering Moon Bear, Jigsaw.
Of course, none of this could have happened without the tremendous support and creative talents of my friends and my husband, Bill, who have supported Jigsaw from the very beginning, with donations and a willingness to be involved in any way I ask. I feel a deep sense of gratitude to them all for their encouragement and support in holding strong the vision of rescuing our beautiful bear.
So Springtime has brought with it a real flourishing of fur for our bear! And do you know what….I can almost feel Jigsaw breathing, pricking up his ears and smelling his freedom….