As 2015 winds down, we’re taking a moment to look back over a year well spent. Some people say that life resembles a river, and if that’s so, Whole Earth Provision Co. has had quite a ride this year. There have been beautiful scenic stretches, parties on the water and even some rapids to add spice to the adventure.
We’ve supported and hosted events large and small in all of our cities, some of which you’ve come to associate with Whole Earth: April is Texas State Park Month and the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour, Earth Day celebrations, Chaco Gives Back, and climbing competitions like the Granite Gripper. Other events were one-time responses to natural disasters like the Oxfam Nepal Recovery Fund Drive and Coming Home and Giving Back in response to the Memorial Day weekend floods.
Whole Earth is proud to be a presence in Austin, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and Southlake and to support our community in each city. Generally speaking, we work with groups helping to preserve and restore the environment here in Texas. But we also support other organizations working to make life better for those in need in our cities.
Some events involve all of our stores. The largest by far is our April is Texas State Park Month, a fund drive to support Texas State Parks. Funds were also raised from the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour and Radical Reels in Austin during the month of April. The four year total for these two fundraisers is over $118,000. We thank you for your generous support of our State Parks.
This is also the fourth year we’ve sponsored the New Toy and Kids Book Drive. The beneficiaries were Manos de Cristo in Austin; the Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center; the Star of Hope Mission in Houston; the Children’s Bereavement Center of South Texas in San Antonio and GRACE, the Grapevine Relief and Community Exchange in Southlake.
In response to the devastating earthquakes in Nepal, Whole Earth customers across the state generously donated over $17,700 to our Nepal Recovery Fund Drive. The money was given to Oxfam America and was one of the largest single donations that the group received for Nepal Relief.
Chaco Gives Back, supporting the Friends of Enchanted Rock, and Dansko Days, supporting the Texas Land Conservancy are now regular events on our Whole Earth calendar. They raise funds for these outstanding groups devoted to preserving iconic and endangered Texas landscapes. All of these statewide events have been successful thanks to your generous support.
Whole Earth has offered its support for special events and organizations including the Texas Nature Conservancy, Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation’s Stewards of the Wild, the Chihuahuan Desert Bike Fest, and the Granite Gripper climbing competition that supports the Friends of Enchanted Rock.
In 2015, Whole Earth supported Proyecto Espeleológico Sistema Huautla or PESH, an international group of deep cave explorers, primarily from the United States and Mexico, devoted to the exploration and scientific documentation of Sistema Huautla, the deepest cave in the Western Hemisphere. We’ve had an abiding interest in caving throughout our history. A member of our Whole Earth family was part of Huautla expeditions in 1966 and 1967. This year, Whole Earth provided the expedition with two GoPro Cameras, batteries and mounts, fuel for camp stoves, and small items, both useful and fun, for children in the communities near the cave system.
On Earth Day in Austin Whole Earth donated 5% of the day’s Austin sales to the Give 5% to Mother Earth campaign. The funds raised help to support the Austin Parks Foundation, Hill Country Conservancy, Texas Campaign for the Environment, Texas Land Conservancy and the Shoal Creek Conservancy. Our North Lamar store hosted the kick-off event for the day with short talk by Austin City Council member, Leslie Pool, Chairman of the Open Space, Environment & Sustainability Committee.
Whole Earth has participated in HAAM Benefit Day for each of its ten years. A portion of the day’s sales are designated for HAAM – the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians. We hosted Phoenix Down at our Campus store. The band has a strong Whole Earth connection – lead singer, lyricist and bassist, Eric Logue-Sargeant also manages the Campus store. Our Westgate store hosted Hard Proof, a group that fuses sounds from sub-Saharan Africa with jazz and deep funk. Westgate was rocking until the heavens opened up and ended the performance early with a deluge.
Memorial Day 2015 was one to remember for Whole Earthlings. Several days of rain combined with an intense downpour, sent Shoal Creek out of its banks and into our North Lamar store. When the flood waters receded, the store was left with a deep layer of mud, water-logged merchandise and ruined walls. Once the store was emptied of damaged merchandise, the cleanup and remodeling began. The store reopened in mid-October with a new, more open and light-filled look. To celebrate, we sponsored Coming Home, Giving Back, a fundraiser for The Barnabas Connection which is aiding the Memorial Day Weekend flood victims in the Wimberley Valley and for The Shoal Creek Conservancy. As a part of the reopening events, we also hosted a TreeFolks Sapling Giveaway.
Whole Earth also supported Keep Austin Beautiful, Westcave Outdoor Discovery Center’s Children in Nature program, the Save Barton Creek Association, the Gazelle Foundation’s Run for the Water, Manos de Cristo, and the Settlement Club.
Whole Earth took part in Earth Day Texas, the largest Earth Day celebration in Texas, and Dallas Pride Festival. We love White Rock Lake and a group of Whole Earth employees did their part to help in the White Rock Lake Cleanup. We also took part in the Cedar Ridge Hike-a-thon, the Dallas Down River Club showing of Reel Paddling and the University of North Texas’ showing of Reel Rock. We have also supported Trinity River Audubon, the Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center and the Genesis Women’s Shelter.
It was a busy weekend in April that found us at Earth Day Houston and the Sam Houston Area Boy Scout Council’s Scout Fair. Whole Earth also took part in Bellaire Recycles Fest, Woodland Park’s National Trail Day event, and Big Brothers Big Sister’s Big Taste of Houston. We have also supported the Bayou Land Conservancy, Habitat for Humanity’s Women Build program and the Star of Hope Mission.
San Antonio River Authority’s Get Outdoors! is one of our favorite events in the city. We also took part in the Fest of Tails, El Chupacabra de San Antonio Run, and the Helotes Humane Society’s 5K. We supported KLRN-TV’s Blazing Gavels Auction, as well as the UTSA’s Outdoor Pursuit program, the Boys and Girls Club of San Antonio, the Family Violence Prevention Services of San Antonio, the San Antonio Police Officers, Blue Cares Outreach program, and the Children’s Bereavement Center of South Texas.
We had a great time at Green Fest, where we, along with our SmartWool reps, gave away SmartWool socks! Whole Earth also supports the Bob Jones Nature Center, the Mid-Cities Care Corps, the Carroll Education Foundation, the Boy Scouts of America Circle 10 Xperience, and GRACE, the Grapevine Relief and Community Exchange.
Here’s to an even better 2016!