When the Boot Girls set out six years ago to make a difference in the lives of our veterans through the sales of combat boots, they probably could never have imagined how far-reaching their efforts, passion, and persistence would spread. An initiative that started out as a grassroots effort in 2009 has since gained national reach and inspired an untold number of people and companies to continue and share those efforts with others.
Take Origlio Beverage, for example. This 82-year-old beer wholesaler headquartered in Philadelphia, Penn. is about 1,400-miles-plus from Boot Girl Sherri’s Texas backyard but wasted no time stepping into combat boots and marching forward to further the Boot Campaign mission. The relationship is the result of a domino effect tipped over by the invaluable support Shiner has provided Boot Campaign since its humble beginnings, including the Shiner Toast Our Troops program, which runs the entire month of July each year.
It was Toast Our Troops that caught the attention of Origlio last year, and the attraction was immediate. The beer wholesaler is a close partner of Shiner and their involvement was a natural progression, fit, and privilege, explained Meredith Rebar, Origlio Corporate Communications Associate. “Origlio is very good about giving back locally and nationally, so any opportunity to get involved with a good nonprofit…[we] always jump at the chance,” she explained. “Shiner is a very good beer [company] and the brewery is really where it started. It’s thus carried over to us, and we want to carry on the enthusiasm. Because it’s important to Shiner, it’s important to us—and because it’s a good charity, we want to get involved in it any way we can.”
So they did. Jumping into their boots, Origlio has since offered support during the month-long Toast Our Troops efforts through promotions, advertising, social media campaigns, company-based donations, personal donations, and employee involvement. In fact, Meredith and co-worker Julie Kovaleski decided to take on their own internal fundraising efforts. Through creativity, effort, and resources, they came up with a way to spread the word about Boot Campaign, promote Shiner Beer, and raise money for our veterans and their families. Julie, put her knowledge of candle-making and affinity for beer to work, creating repurposed 12-ounce Shiner Beer bottle candles scented in three of the company’s brews: Shiner Ruby Redbird, Shiner Bock, and Shiner Prickly Pear. “Beer is my passion, so I wanted to combine these two things that somebody wouldn’t throw away and could use again,” Julie explained. The 100-percent-soy wax candles were quite the hit in the office and with Shiner. Internally, she sold 75 candles, then Shiner’s corporate office purchased 60—20 of each scent.
Meredith’s fundraising meant taking advantage of the notion that “the way to a person’s heart is through their belly.” So she put her friend, owner of Busy Bee Bakery, to work, asking her to create recipes in the same brews as Julie’s candles. Together, Meredith and the baker created three confectionary delights: Prickly Pear vanilla cupcake (with Prickly Pear inside) and cream cheese frosting; Ruby Redbird butter cake (with Ruby Redbird inside), and grapefruit curd icing made with a homemade grapefruit extract; and Shiner Bock chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter cream cheese icing.
Origlio’s team efforts—cupcakes and candles included—have raised more than $5,000 this year. Julie explained that number grew after one of their accounts reached out to a brand manager wanting to extend their fundraising efforts through the end of August. Additionally, Origlio’s sister company, All Star Distributing, joined the effort, lending their support for the first time last year and taking the title of top fundraising wholesaler in the country. According to Jessica Lawrence of All Star, they’ve raised about $12,146 this year.
Like so many who have reached out to Boot Campaign, Meredith explained that their motivation comes from a genuine desire to assist our military and their families. As soon as Origlio’s team was tasked to help, they were all-in. “Everybody was on board and everybody was [and is] happy to help!” she shared. Welcome aboard, Origlio and All Star!