Emily Costa essay

I have the privilege of volunteering with the leading eating disorder non-profit in the United States called Project HEAL. After a few years of volunteering, I got the wonderful opportunity to run their New York City Chapter and work towards our main mission in my local area. Collectively between hundreds of volunteers and over 40 chapters worldwide – Project HEAL as a whole works diligently to deliver prevention, grant treatment financing and provide recovery support to those suffering from eating disorders. This is a cause dear to my heart as I recovered from my own battle with an eating disorder and wanted to give back to those struggling. My role as Chapter Leader includes managing our volunteers, planning events, and most importantly – strategizing ways to best fundraise money to fulfill our goal of providing financial support to those who cannot obtain treatment any other way.

Just a few weeks ago, I had the experience of hosting a raffle for our New York City Project HEAL. The idea came about while planning ideas for the Holiday season with a team of volunteers and how we could fundraise through a raffle with some great gifts. My Chapter and I came up with the idea to collaborate with a local eating disorder treatment center that hosts an annual Holiday party for their colleagues and professionals who are also in the eating disorder field. Luckily, many of these attendees are active supporters of our cause and are passionate about the work they are doing for those struggling with eating disorders. We figured what better way to fundraise for Project HEAL and also allow these professionals to participate in a raffle where they could reward themselves with a gift that would provide a sense of self-care after all the selfless work they do year-round.

We reached out to various local businesses to get donated gift cards and certificates. Ranging from hairstyling appointments, boxing classes, meditation classes and massages – we felt like we had something suited for everyone. We were so grateful to these local businesses and formed a beneficial new relationship with the employees at each establishment, another bonus to planning a raffle.

The night of the Holiday party was an ultimate success and allowed us to raise a few hundred dollars to support our ongoing work. For us, those few hundred dollars allow us to fulfill our treatment grants. With every dollar we raised, we knew we could now provide those in need with something seemingly small like a costly nutritionist or therapy appointment – but that is absolutely vital to someone’s recovery journey and healing.

Throughout the evening of running the raffle, it was thrilling to know we were not only raising money for our mission – but got the opportunity to interact with some of our strongest supporters and introduce the organization to new faces. Raffles are ultimately not only just a wonderful way to raise money for great organizations or churches for example – but to foster connection in communities of all types. Through each ticket that is sold, we were building our strong network and got funding to save more lives. Our end goal is never just the money – but the lives that money affects allowing those in need to access the help and support they not only need, but deserve.

For me personally, this is what is motivating to continue my work with this non-profit. Throughout planning and executing the raffle, I was reminded of what makes it all worth it. The excitement on the faces of raffle winners is always worth it – but nothing beats knowing even this small festive fundraising idea will go to something so important.



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