Clubs' time cut at mall

May 31, 2000|By TARA REILLY

HALFWAY - A new Valley Mall policy that restricts when nonprofit organizations can hold fund-raisers there has at least one organization concerned that donation drives will suffer.

Mall officials decided this month that groups could, with a few exceptions, hold events in the mall on only two weekends a year, one in September, the other in May. During those weekends, the mall will host Pillars of the Community fairs for service clubs.

At other designated times during the year, health groups and organizations such as The American Red Cross will be permitted to hold fund-raisers.

The mall previously did not limit the days on which service groups could hold fund-raisers.

The Kiwanis Club, which holds events at the mall twice a year, fears donations might suffer if various service clubs hold their drives in the mall at the same time.


"That would really dilute the number of contributions," club member Howard Hoffman said. "People are only going to give so much."

Hoffman said he learned of the new policy when a Kiwanis member went to the mall to discuss setting up for the Miracle Mile of Quarters, a fund-raiser that benefits the Children's Miracle Network. Hoffman said the club hadn't found an alternative site for the fund-raiser, scheduled for June.

Hoffman said the mall was an appropriate place for the fund-raiser because it has a high volume of customers and is big enough to create a mile-long line of quarters, which is done as part of the national Kiwanis event.

No decision has been made on whether The Salvation Army will be allowed to bring in its bell-ringers in December, Valley Mall Marketing Director Julie Simmons said. That will be determined by the mall's owner, Crown America, she said.

Major Bob Henderson of The Salvation Army said he hadn't been contacted by mall officials but said the bell ringing fund-raiser at the mall has always been successful.

"The mall has always been very good to us," Henderson said. "It's a large source of Christmas income."

Simmons said the new policy was necessary because some service clubs had been breaking mall rules.

"We had some problems with organizations," Simmons said. "Nonprofits were coming in and taking over the mall. They were not listening and following instructions. They started doing things our businesses weren't allowed to do. We had a few bad apples that really caused problems."

Simmons said some groups violated the mall's gambling restrictions by holding raffles without approval and some disregarded fire lane laws.

By limiting fund-raisers to two Pillars of the Community fairs a year, mall officials will be able to make sure the organizations follow the rules, Simmons said.

"By no means are we shutting out the nonprofits," Simmons said. "We want to help them. The policy could change. We're willing to change it if we find a better way."

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