BAKER CITY — Every “kerplunk” that echoes in a BELLA store this month means one more dollar for a local charity.
In December, the shops — one in Baker City, 2023 Main St., and one in La Grande, 1216 Adams Ave. — are raising money for three organizations chosen by the staff.
“They’re three organizations we’ve supported for a long time,” said owner Beverly Calder.
The organizations benefitting from the stores’ contributions are the La Grande Angel Fund, which is a food bank for homeless youth; Baker Relief Nursery, which serves families with children younger than 6; and the Baker City Quiet Zone, which seeks to reduce train whistles and improve railroad crossings.
BELLA is donating 10% of December sales to these causes, and the recipients are determined by customers.
“We’re going to let the people decide,” Calder said.
The theme for the month, she said, is “Give More.”
For every $10 spent, a customer is given a hazelnut or walnut to put in a stocking labeled for the charity. Each nut represents $1 for the organization.
“It’s really so heartwarming to watch people consider where the donation should go,” Calder said. “Many customers have involved their kids and let the kids help decide.”
Calder said education is part of the fundraiser as well — her staff members know the background of each organization, and share the stories with customers.
“We’ve been giving out a lot of brochures,” she said.
In addition to the stockings, a raffle will increase the fundraising.
Calder said BELLA received a donation from a woman who was raised in Baker City and heard about the “Give More” fundraiser. The donor — who wanted to remain anonymous — contributed $300 for the raffle. Calder said BELLA added another $100, and the combined $400 will be split for a $200 shopping spree in both stores.
Each shop is selling raffle tickets for the shopping spree, and the proceeds from the tickets will go the charity that receives the most nuts in each location.
Calder said the stockings are emptied each night, and shoppers in the La Grande store are supporting Baker City causes just as much as the Baker customers are donating to the Angel Fund.
“People like to see everyone benefit,” she said. “We’ve had a lot of fun with this and you hope, at the end of the day, that our enthusiasm is infectious.”