Kindness through cookiesPublished 2:20pm Wednesday, April 3, 2013
Area nursing home residents got a pleasant surprise Saturday: a cookie, paired with a kind message, courtesy of Julie Nesvold.
Julie, a 7-year-old state finalist for the National American Miss Pageant, will compete with other state finalists the weekend of June 1-2 for the title of Miss Minnesota Pre-Teen. A fundraiser Saturday at the Austin Hy-Vee helped cover part of the $480 in fees and passed along many random acts of kindness.
“We really enjoy doing stuff like that,” said Julie’s mother, Danielle Nesvold. “She worked really hard, and she really enjoyed it.”
Shoppers at Hy-Vee donated $1 or more to have a card and treat sent to a nursing home resident in the Austin area to brighten their day.
“We had some pretty big-sized donations,” said Julie’s mother, Danielle Nesvold, adding several $20 bills were given and one person donated $50. “We ended up collecting $204.”
Right after the fundraiser, Julie and her family delivered the cards and treats to St. Marks, Sacred Heart and Good Samaritan in Austin. Some recipients made sure to let Julie know they took notice of her gesture.
“We got a letter today from the daughter of a resident saying, ‘We really appreciated it,’” Nesvold said Tuesday.
She and Julie together came up with the fundraiser idea to offset the cost of the pageant. They pitched it to Todd Hepler, store director at the Austin Hy-Vee, who gave them the green light to use the store.
“We feel that we should really go out and help, especially when it’s a kid who really wants to make a difference,” Hepler said, adding the store strives to get involved with community fundraisers.
Hy-Vee helped Julie get set up in the bakery department of the store, and donated 200 cookies for her fundraising effort.
The National American Miss contest is not a beauty pageant, Nesvold said. Instead, it focuses on the idea of inner beauty, poise and presentation. The contest teaches girls who enter to develop self confidence, learn good sportsmanship and set and achieve their personal goals.
“It’s really focused on getting these girls prepared for the real world, and letting their true selves really shine,” she said. “We’re real excited to represent Austin.”
Julie was nominated for the pageant and passed an audition in Rochester in mid-February.