A Whale of a Donation - Carolina Country
November 2022

BEMC Chief Operating Officer Corey Thurlow, ORCA fundraisers Judy Cunningham and Mary Perno, and BEMC Manager of Member Engagement and Communications Brookes Versaggi

Ocean Ridge Charities Association, Inc. (ORCA) is a powerhouse. The more than two dozen local organizations it gives money to range from the Boys & Girls Homes of North Carolina and Matthews Ministry to the Brunswick County Literacy Council and the Veterans Welcome Home and Resource Center. And we are so grateful that BEMC’s Warm Homes, Warm Hearts utility assistance program has also been on their list for years.

Holiday Open House Tour

The home of Wendy and Jerry Carney, ready for the Holiday Open House Tour

Judy Cunningham and Mary Perno, ORCA’s chief fundraisers, stopped by in January of this year to deliver a check for $10,500 to support Warm Homes, Warm Hearts, and they shared how they raised the sizable donation.

“First, we have a pretty clear mission,” said Judy. “After identifying local needs, we consolidate and maximize fundraising and volunteering efforts within our Ocean Ridge Plantation community. But we like to say we’re just a very organized group of friends and neighbors having a great time, working hard for good causes.”

“Our fundraising for Warm Homes, Warm Hearts centers around the holidays,” Mary continues. “In November, we have a craft show at our clubhouse, with all the items made by our residents — we have some very talented people! And then the first weekend in December is very busy. On Saturday we have a ‘marketplace raffle’, and residents donate something they have created or purchased — we had 35 items last year, including quilts, paintings, baked goods, and rounds of golf. And we also sell packages of luminaries, which are popular, because everyone walks or drives around that night to admire them.”

Judy adds that “luminaries are also on display on Sunday night, because that’s our Holiday Open House Tour, which is huge. I work with two very creative women, and they work with homeowners who are willing to open their houses and really go all out on decorating. They also borrow from other homeowners, make wreaths, and do some unique, stunning and fun decorating. They look like show homes,” continues Judy. “We make money by selling tickets, and we had 260 take the tour last year. It’s a wonderful weekend, made possible by our very giving Ocean Ridge community — and because we like to share our Warm Homes, Warm Hearts.”

Thank you to Judy and Mary, everyone at ORCA, and the generous people in their community. For more information visit orcharities.org.

Warm Homes, Warm Hearts

Every year, BEMC provides up to $50,000 in matching funds for all donations from the community. For more information visit bemc.org.

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