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Kathy Carey runs her own fundraising to help March of Dimes

MORRIS – Kathy Carey of Morris is baby-crazy.

Crazy, that is, about raising money for the babies March of Dimes helps. She’s walked miles, created and sold cookbooks, and solicited items to sell at her annual garage sales. Every dime Carey gets goes to March of Dimes.

“It’s just a passion of mine to save babies,” Carey said.

A friend lit the fire by inviting Carey to walk for March of Dimes. That was in the 1980s, Carey said, and the walk was 26 miles.

“For the babies,” Carey said. “She said, ‘Kathy, let’s walk for babies, so we can save babies.’ We loved babies at the time and still do. Eventually some of my girlfriends had little babies born prematurely and needed help from the March of Dimes.”

Carey participated in walks until 2009. By then, she was immersed in her own March of Dimes project, her “Sharing Recipes & Dimes” cookbook. The reasons were simple. Carey wanted to make extra money for March of Dimes and she wanted to set her own goals.

“Everyone likes to cook,” Carey said. “My family likes to cook. My friends like to cook. I used to buy cookbooks all the time from churches. And I thought, ‘You know, if they can do it, I can do it.’”

So she did. Family, friends and coworkers submitted recipes on index cards (Carey said she didn’t own a computer at the time). When the cookbook was published, Carey sold copies at craft shows – and at her annual March of Dimes garage sales, which she began in 2010.

“I always liked garage sales and I wanted to make extra money for March of Dimes,” Carey said. “I just wanted to try it and see how it worked.”

Carey set a goal of $1,000. She didn’t hit it the first year, but she did the second – and every year after that. She initially ran the sale Friday, Saturday and Sunday, but Sunday had little traffic. So Carey switched to Thursday, Friday and Sunday, and sales soared.

Except for some help from her significant other (Randy Bell of Morris), Carey is a one-woman operation. She solicits sale items, picks up donated sale items, and sets up and tears down on sale days, Carey said.

But that’s not all.

Carey’s backyard is beach-themed – and all the chairs hold March of Dimes signs. Carey and Bell also built a rum shack. Last year, someone suggested Carey let people take their pictures in front of the rum shack for $1, also to be donated to March a Dimes.

Good idea, Carey agreed. She set up a donation can.

“I had 10 people the first hour,” Carey said. “People were putting $50 bills in there.”

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