CJ’s Thumbs Up Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit that provides assistance to families of children with chronic and life-threatening illnesses. They primarily purchase food + meals and deliver them to families of children receiving treatment at Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU and UVA Children’s Hospital in Charlottesville. They also deliver fruits and vegetables to, and sometimes cook for, Ronald McDonald Houses. Emergency bill pay is offered to families through CJ’s Thumbs Up Foundation in the form of one-time $300 payments towards utilities, rent, medical bills, etc.
As a nonprofit, fundraising events are crucial in maintaining the funds to provide to those in need. In response to COVID-19, many of their fundraising events have been cancelled and many future events are in danger of being cancelled. They’ve increased their activity to include some days that used to be covered by other non-profits who have had to temporarily suspend operations. Their budget normally allows for a certain number of meals per month but that is currently getting exceeded by a substantial amount. Fortunately for CJ’s Thumbs Up Foundation, they are far ahead in the projected number of patients, family members, and caregivers they normally serve due to being able to continue their services when others have had to stop. Their success is also due to seeking out food vendors (“local” as much as possible) who have been good partners to them in the past and committing to using these partners as much as possible (if they are open during this time). Because of the new COVID-19 restrictions, everything must be packaged separately which incurs higher costs due to increased labor and materials.
Social media has been used regularly including blog posts and email blasts letting people know about their current operations. They have made the shift from “CJ’s House Concerts” fundraisers to “CJ’s (Online) House Concerts”. The financial impact has been minimal but the exposure CJ’s Thumbs Up Foundation has received has been growing and is proving beneficial.
If you’re interested in making a donation to CJ’s Thumbs Up Foundation, visit their website at www.cjstuf.org. To stream their online house concerts, visit their Facebook and stream their Facebook live. Any restaurants are also encouraged to contact them to donate or offer discounted meals.