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The Bella Wishing Tree

The Ronald McDonald House of Charity Wishing Tree has been a Bella Trio tradition for over 10 years. Every year we have the pleasure of putting Wishing Tree ornaments on our trees and everyone is able to hand-select an ornament, detailing what products they’d like to give. Some choose to gift toys to children of Durham, some provide necessary household goods, and others bake cookies with these families in their free time. This year, COVID has thrown us a little curve ball, but that won’t stop us from giving.

The Ronald McDonald House of Charity has made it simple for us to give this year by providing easy-access registries. You can browse these wishlists through Amazon, Target, and Costco and plan for your next trip to the store!

Terry Richardson, Bella Trio’s founder, has always emphasized giving back to the community and has embedded that into the culture of Bella Trio. She’s a humble woman and wasn’t too sure about the idea of the interview, but agreed to share with us why the Wishing Tree is so special to her.

How did you get started with the Wishing Tree?

Long before Bella Trio, through a friend… who helped start the charity and was very involved with RMHC. To be honest, we went out on a date and things didn’t turn out, but I got involved with RMHC. I let him know I like giving back to the community because it helps keep us alive and I feel like we should always give back to those who need it.

Tell me a little bit about Ronald McDonald House of Charity (RMHC).

RMHC helps families with kids who are, sometimes, terminally ill. They do it in a way to help kids still feel like they’re at home, like they aren’t in a hotel or anything, and their family can stay [close to them].

Most people are volunteers and they work hard. Everything they get [from donations], they use for those families and they’re so appreciative.

How do you feel the Wishing Tree has impacted Bella Trio?

It’s definitely harvested a good, giving culture. It’s not too difficult for staff to get involved and it’s really easy to go in and pick up supplies. Even if you don’t have time to shop and could only send money, we could give the money to RMHC and they would buy what they need.

I wanted it to be easy and not expensive, where even if you only have $5 [to] give… RMHC would appreciate it so much.

What is your fondest memory with the Wishing Tree?

I loved taking the stuff there–that was the most fun. My car would be full and Jodi’s car would be full… You’ll get close to the building to drop things off and sometimes they’re taking photos of you… Every time I went in there, the staff would always be so thankful and appreciative. You always see their faces, and there’s a living area when you walk in, with the Christmas tree… and they would just be smiling. Just knowing we were helping was enough.

One time we were dropping gifts off and I was wearing a bright red coat and thought, “Well that’s going to make me stand out.”

Is there any advice you’d like to give to someone who’s interested in giving to the Wishing Tree?

It’s very easy to get involved. Now you can go online and purchase from their wishlists. There’s not a lot of paperwork involved and you just tell them you’re interested and they can send you the information you need. It’s a lot of fun, you get the stuff and take it there.

You can get as involved as you want, or as little as you want, but you’re still making a difference. You always wonder with charities where the money goes or whether or not things are used, and RMHC uses EVERYTHING.

Any last remarks?

My philosophy is if you’re going to have a business in a town, if you want a community to support you, you have to give back in any way you can, even if it’s just a little something.

Terry speaks fondly of the Ronald McDonald House of Charity and all the memories created surrounding this program. We would love to encourage you to start creating memories with other families and join us in giving to local families. RMHC has provided three wishlists to choose from, for convenient, COVID-safe donations. You can browse these wishlists through Amazon, Target, and Costco. Find out here how RMHC has impacted Durham’s families.

Let’s support our community and keep Durham Bella!

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