A ride on the carousel at the East Hills Shopping Center could change lives in the area.
Continuing a program launched several years ago, the monthly fundraiser “Carousel for Charity” turns the mall’s merry-go-round into a fundraising machine.
“Just to be able to be a part of the community and offering the little bit we can to help out with good causes is really important to us,” said Lindsey Davis, general manager at the East Hills Shopping Center.
The program will continue from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Nov. 7, at the shopping center at 3702 Frederick Ave.
Freudenthal Center for Parkinson’s Disease will serve as this month’s fundraiser recipient. The center offers free programs designed to help fight the effects of the disease. The program uses multiple exercises and other therapies to help patients recalibrate their bodies to maximize movement and slow the debilitation brought on by Parkinson’s.
The Freudenthal Center will join past recipients like Child Rescue: Casa De Mi Padre and the St. Joseph Pregnancy Resource Clinic. Davis said while the program was put on hold during the height of the pandemic, the mall was happy to bring it back.
“A few months ago, we kind of started getting inquiries from organizations that just needed ideas for fundraising,” she said.
During the designated hours on the first Sunday of the month, all proceeds from admissions to the carousel will go toward a nonprofit organization. In December, money will benefit Sparkle Peach Inc., an organization that provides feminine hygiene packs to people in need.
“If they are an organization that we think is a good fit for this, we just we put it on the calendar ... and all proceeds from carousel rides for that day get directly donated back to that organization,” Davis said.
Knowing the warm, nostalgic glow the carousel gives to the shopping center, Davis said it’s fun to use those warm fuzzy feelings for good. She said people often contact the mall to inquire about the carousel and what previous shopping centers it had been installed in before coming to St. Joseph in 2008.
“Why not come and also enjoy the carousel?” she said. “There’s no age limit on the carousel rides. It’s not just for kids, adults could enjoy it as well (and) bring back the memories of riding a carousel as a child. It’s just fun for the whole family to come out to support a good cause and enjoy the ride while you’re here.”
The rewarding part for mall officials is two-fold: They get to see people smiling as they ride the carousel, and there are the positive effects the money raised has on the organizations.
“As the center manager, one of the best things is to be able to hand over the money to an organization after a ‘Carousel for Charity’ (and) see the looks on their faces. They truly appreciate any help that they can get and that’s really why we do it,” Davis said.
To inquire about “Carousel for Charity,” contact the East Hills Shopping Center at 816-279-5667.