It all started with big, red, silly noses. Tina Anderson, a Walgreens Shift Lead, wanted to bless the children of Crossnore as part of Walgreens Red Nose program, along with children in local hospitals, where they were donating. This campaign asks patrons to purchase noses to gift kids to bring joy and laughter in struggle. With the money collected for the noses, Walgreens then awards grants to organizations providing health, safety, and education to children around the country.
And so, in 2019, Tina dropped off silly noses – lots of silly noses – to make our kids smile. But she didn’t stop there. Tina loves giving and serving. She and her daughters, Mary (18) and Joelle (14), regularly volunteer at their church’s food pantry, not only serving, but making relationships with the people who come and helping them shop. “I tell my kids,” Tina says, “We don’t have a lot, but there are people who have less. We’re going to give what we can give.”
A Christmas donation drive.
Not only has Tina given herself, but she inspired several Walgreens locations to give with her. After Tina’s dad passed away in September of 2019, she was looking for a little joy herself. And so, she talked with the folks at Crossnore and asked how she could help, and Tina decided she wanted to give Crossnore kids a Christmas they wouldn’t soon forget. After speaking with her store and district managers, Tina organized a multi-store donation drive, where staff members could provide new gifts for our kids. Tina says that several Winston-Salem stores, a store in Mocksville, and a store in Yadkinville all got involved.
So, in December of 2019, Tina dropped off six minivan loads of gifts. Walgreens employees, inspired by Tina, provided tons of toys, hygiene products, movie supplies, robes, socks, slippers and more for roughly 122 children. The kids who received these blessings were from our residential, community foster care, and Day Treatment programs.
Joy all around.
“It definitely helped that employees could take advantage of Walgreen’s Buy 2 Get 2 promotions,” says Tina. She says it was so fun waiting for items to go on clearance and then snagging them up for the kids at Crossnore. They were even able to include makeup items, restaurant gift cards, and candy for stockings. “It gave me joy,” says Tina, “and it came at a time in my life when I needed that joy.”
In 2020, the district Walgreens stores raised money for local food pantries. But Tina and several other employees had been collecting items all year to give to Crossnore again. “I had been buying all year for it, so I still wanted to give to Crossnore,” says Tina. Her kids were onboard again too. “They love it. And they know their mom has a shopping addiction,” she laughs. What a blessing that Tina has chosen to put that addiction to good use. “I’m not good at the boys stuff, but I love buying makeup, hair accessories, and jewelry.” The only problem came when Tina purchased only one Fortnite toy. “My daughter said, ‘You only got ONE Fortnite toy? You’re going to start a war!’”
An unexpected award.
Tina was even awarded the Walgreens Corporate Social Responsibility Award, first for her district, then her region, then her area. “I didn’t do it for the award, and I didn’t even know.” The district manager nominated Tina for the award, and she was chosen from 10,000 people to receive it. “One day, in walks the area Vice President and her crew with my Area award. I don’t like attention. And they made me give a speech,” says Tina. Knowing she hated that kind of thing made it even more fun for the Walgreens staff to surprise her. Tina can’t get over how supportive Walgreens has been.
A passion for these kids.
Tina loves charity work in general but says there is just something special about Crossnore. “I don’t know how to put it in words. I love this kind of work, but Crossnore, I was meant to do this. If I can bring a smile to just one child’s face, it’s all been worth it.”
Tina is passionate about children in foster care. “The hospital is kind of the go-to place to help children,” she explains. “But often these kids get overlooked. Maybe they don’t have a support system. I don’t want them to be forgotten.” Tina says she’s not done yet and that she’s already starting shopping for Christmas 2021. “I just grab it as I see it, and I know that it will be for someone.”
We are looking forward to years of partnership with Tina, her daughters, and all the people she inspires to jump in along the way. Because this kind of joy, Tina joy, is certainly contagious.