The National Pawnbrokers Association (NPA) celebrated the 10th anniversary of its Gift Day donation drive on December 6, 2018. The annual event partners NPA members with charitable organizations providing musical instruments to veterans, underprivileged youth, and struggling school band programs. This year’s event marks a decade of pawnbrokers donating musical instruments and cash, or performing community outreach on behalf of NPA’s Gift Day effort.
NPA president, Tim Collier, notes, “We are proud and excited to celebrate our 10th year of Gift Day as pawnbrokers have a rich tradition of giving back to their communities and supporting veterans and military families through philanthropic support on the community level.”
Gift Day was first launched on December 6, 2009, when the efforts of a large group of NPA member volunteers from 17 states came together to donate hundreds of instruments, including guitars, keyboards, flutes, clarinets, violins, trumpets, trombones, saxophones, and various percussion instruments to local schools and groups in their communities. The donation drive received the attention of the media and was endorsed by Georgia Governor, Sonny Perdue, who declared December 6 as Pawnbrokers Day for the state of Georgia. Each subsequent year, Gift Day has shifted its focus and tactics to best provide assistance to those organizations that need it the most.
Recently, NPA members were asked to donate financial contributions to Operation Homefront to benefit veterans and military families on December 6, 2018. Operation Homefront’s mission is to build strong, stable, and secure military families so they can thrive, not simply struggle to get by, in the communities they worked so hard to protect.
NPA members stepped up to the call by donating significant cash gifts to Operation Homefront on behalf of Gift Day. “It’s exciting to see overall participation and the number of donations growing from year to year,” said Mr. Collier. “I feel proud knowing that our contributions are helping to change people’s lives.” The NPA would like to thank the following donors for their participation in the Gift Day donation drive:
Ronald Krasner, The PawnShop, Inc., Chula Vista, CA
Christopher McCarthy, Lowell Jewelry & Loan, Lowell, MA
Richard Rose, Fulton Loan Office, Inc., Atlanta, GA
Dana Meinecke, Keller, TX
Helen Moore, Fort Worth, TX
Louis Tansky, Uncle Ben’s Pawn Shop, Cleveland, OH
Christina Roosman, Jewelry Journey & Co., Cape Girardeau, MO
Operation Homefront is a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization which provides short-term and critical financial assistance, long-term stability, and recurring support programs to military families. Donations from the NPA will make a real difference in their lives, because 92% of Operation Homefront’s expenditures goes directly toward programs and services for these families. Among its many achievements, the organization has fulfilled over 38,000 requests from military families across the U.S., providing more than $22.5 million in relief, accepted 600 military families into the Homes on the Homefront permanent housing program, and provided well over $64 million in home equity to military families.
NPA will continue to work with Operation Homefront on an ongoing basis. Members of the NPA can give online at any time throughout the year as the needs of military families and veterans continue to mount by visiting Nationalpawnbrokers.org/giftday.
Inspiration for the Gift Day charity drive came from the example set by St. Nicholas of Myra, the patron saint of pawnbroking, who was famed for secretly throwing three bags of gold into his neighbor’s window in hopes that the neighbor’s daughters would be spared from a life of enslavement. In the spirit of this generosity, Gift Day strives to put musical instruments and donations into the hands of those who need them the most. “St. Nicholas Day” is observed on December 6 in regard to his reputation as a bringer of gifts. His three bags of gold may have been the source of inspiration for the international symbol of pawnbrokers.
In the spirit of Gift Day, Bob Moulton, founder of National Pawn in Durham, NC, has donated over 3,500 musical instruments to more than 20 schools and a total of $60,000 in cash, since 2011. Brian Moulton, who is a member of the NPA Board of Directors and son of Bob Moulton, is also participating. In 2018, he presented eight public school music programs in North Carolina with at least 100 musical instruments and $2,000 to each school on behalf of National Pawn. The generous donations have received local and regional press coverage and a warm reception from the communities and schools that they benefit.
Bob Moulton has always sought to give back to the communities his stores serve and was specifically inspired to support music education through his own experiences growing up. Enamored by music as a child, Moulton wanted to join his middle school band in Durham, NC, but financial strains made it difficult for his parents to purchase a new instrument. It wasn’t until his mom found an affordable instrument at a yard sale that he was able to live out his musical dreams. Now a successful businessman, Moulton wants to ensure that every child interested in joining a school music program has the ability to pursue those opportunities. “I’ve experienced firsthand the developmental, creative, and social benefits of being in the band, and believe it’s so important we give every student the chance to form that same sense of self and team building through music. Our hope is that this will also inspire others to donate gently-used instruments to local public schools to expand the overall community impact,” said Moulton.
Gift Day History
In past years, pawnbrokers have donated thousands of new and gently used musical instruments and monetary donations to VA hospitals, public school music programs, veterans’ groups, and children’s programs in almost every state in the nation. Here are a few highlights:
NPA member volunteers simultaneously launch first annual Gift Day events in 17 states.
NPA partners with Boys & Girls Clubs of America. NPA members install Toys for Tots donation bins in their pawn stores.
NPA partners with Anthony Ameen and his organization, Wings for Warriors®. The partnership resulted in donation events at three VA medical centers: Warrior and Family Support Center in San Antonio, TX, Armed Services YMCA Naval Medical Center in San Diego, CA, and Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, MD. Wayne Williams of M & M Merchandisers, Inc. provided instrument donations and shipping coordination for these special events.
Additionally, pawnbrokers in over eight states teamed up to donate 100 guitars to the Shepherd Center music therapy program in Atlanta, GA.
The NPA worked with The Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation and Felice Mancini, daughter of noted composer and musician Henry Mancini, to deliver cash donations and musical instruments to many school music programs across the country, such as Rowan Middle School in Jackson, MS, Lee High School in Huntsville, AL, and Mae Hensley Junior High in Ceres, CA.
In 2017, the NPA worked with The Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation and Music Rising to rescue the musical culture of the Central Gulf region of the U.S. from the destruction caused by the catastrophic hurricanes Katrina and Rita, by replacing the musical instruments lost or destroyed in the deluge. Co-founded by U2’s the Edge and legendary producer Bob Ezrin, Music Rising provides aid to schools affected by natural disasters nationwide.
NPA partnered with Operation Homefront to provide donations to veterans and military families in need.
The result of NPA’s Gift Day event goes even further than the smiles on children’s faces and giving help to those in need. The event has generated outstanding positive attention for pawnbrokers on a national and local level. The news coverage, television reports, and fun Gift Day giving events have helped journalists, lawmakers, law enforcement, educators, community leaders, and the general public to understand that a pawnbroker is an important, charitable, and valuable part of their community.
On December 6, 2009, on the very first Gift Day, pawnbroker Pappy Clarke of Pappy’s Pawn in Knoxville, TN, made a significant donation on behalf of the NPA Gift Day to his local school district that struggled to provide instruments for students due to a lack of sufficient state funding. He was interviewed for a local television station about his Gift Day donation. He wrote and sang a song that was broadcast across the state that sums up the spirit of Gift Day.
“Song to Students” by Pappy Clarke
Let me tell the story, I can tell it all,
About a local pawnshop that came to give it all,
To those needy students covering our land,
Who want to play an instrument if they had it in their hand.
Money’s gotten tighter in these past few years,
You can see the disappointment in our children’s tears,
But if we come together like the Beatles said,
We can bring much joy and put music in their heads.
And it’s for students, students all across this land,
Dust off that old instrument and put it in their hand.
Students, students let’s give to those who need,
Give the gift of music and plant that early seed!