The Ohrwashel family of Upper Nazareth Township may have been "swimming" in books for months, but all of that "swimming" was well worth it.
Following a three-day book sale held from June 23 to 25, the Ohrwashels and an army of volunteers raised about $5,000 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Greater Pennsylvania -- enough money to fully grant the wish of one child and partially fund a wish for a second.
Monique Ohrwashel praised the volunteers for making the annual Book Sale for Make-A-Wish -- in its fifth year -- a success.
"Our friends and neighbors helped make this year's sale such a success," Ohrwashel wrote in an e-mail to Patch. "They donated tents, tarps, tables, baked goods, bottled water, muscle, time and support! They all helped make it happen!"
In addition to raising money for Make-A-Wish, about 5,000 books were donated to the Cops 'n' Kids Literacy Program, which, according to www.copsnkidslv.org:
- Ensures that every child has access -- in his or her home -- to books and the knowledge, inspiration and hope that such access can provide.
- Encourages positive relationships between children and police.
- Inspires creative learning for children and families by providing meaningful literacy-based experiences.
In addition, about 10,000 adult books were donated to the Men of Retirement Age (MORA) Club of Bethlehem. According to Ohrwashel, the MORA Club will hold a book sale fundraiser during the Lehigh Valley Hospital - Muhlenberg Summer Festival in August. All proceeds will benefit the hospital.
"We were very fortunate that the community was so generous with book donations this year," Ohrwashel said. "I can't even say how many books we had total... "
Books weren't the only thing on sale, according to Ohrwashel. Several volunteers sold handmade friendship bracelets and delicious baked goods.
Despite one night of rain that took out one tent and two garbage cans of books, the spirit of the crew was never dampened.
Besides, the best was yet to come:
Abby, a 4-year-old girl from Bethlehem who has leukemia and Down’s syndrome, visited the book sale with her sister and mom.
The Ohrwashels were hoping to raise enough money to send Abby and her family on a trip to Disney World -- and they did.
"It [was] very inspiring for my kids and the other [volunteers] at the sale to meet [and interact] with the reason [why] they [were] doing all [of this] work," Ohrwashel said.
But Abby wasn't the only surprise guest. Averi, the 2010 "wish child" the Ohrwashels helped raise money for, also stopped by.
"We tried to get some pictures with her, but she told us she was very busy shopping," Ohrwashel joked. "It was nice to have Averi and her family meet Abby and her family."
Following the three-day fundraiser and the clean-up that ensued, the news came that the Ohrwashels and their army of volunteers raised enough money to fully fund Abby's Disney World wish.
But that's not all.
The group also raised enough money to partially fund another child's wish.
- The Ohrwashel Family: Mike, Monique, Kendall, Taylor and Cameron
- The Trenberth family: Gayle, Jacob and Zack
- The Stitzer family: Wendy, Ally, Lindsey and Averi
- The Blair family: Phil, Chris, Madeline and Drew
- The Korner family: Gary, Debbie, Nick, Luke and Maddy
- The Termini family: Cheryl, Anthony and Michael
- The Reyes family: Gail, Alex and Carlton
- The Adams family - Eileen, Bill and Nicholas
- John and Alyssa Hicks, Anthony Termini, Allison Shofran, Erin Smith, Brandon Werkheiser, Isabelle Dara, Mike and AJ Linkowsky, Rachel and Maria Konieckzny, Dawn Werkheiser, Trudy and Emily Miller, Sarah Kunkel, Allyson Stitzer, Maria Konieckzny, Olivia Giralico
For more information on the Ohrwashels and how they are involved with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, read "Meet Nazareth's 'Whiz Kids' Kendall and Cameron Ohrwashel" and "Nazareth Students Attempt to Whistle Their Way into the Record Books" on Nazareth Patch.