Consumers Save, Connecticut Children’s Benefits as Kidscard Kicks Off 10th Anniversary Year

Patients of Conneccticut Children's Medical Center have been named 'Kidscard Ambassadors' for 2015. Courtesy photo

Now in its 10th year, the West Hartford Center Kidscard offers discount deals to shoppers and diners while at the same time raising significant funds for Connecticut Children’s Medical Center.

Patients of Conneccticut Children's Medical Center have been named 'Kidscard Ambassadors' for 2015. Courtesy photo

Patients of Conneccticut Children’s Medical Center have been named ‘Kidscard Ambassadors’ for 2015. Courtesy photo

By Ronni Newton

The rollout of the annual Kidscard program in West Hartford Center and Blue Back Square is a sure sign that the “season of giving” is about to begin, and founder and organizer Lauren Zeligson said that the Kidscard program has even more meaning this year as it celebrates its 10th anniversary.

Kidscard is a fundraiser for Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, and for the first time ever the beneficiaries have gotten directly involved. “This year we have 10 patients who have volunteered to be ambassadors. They’re paired with 10 of the stores in the Center, and those stores will be selling Kidscards in honor of the ambassadors,” Zelligson said.

The ambassadors will be sharing their stories, and those stories in turn will serve as inspiration to local artists who will use them for another component of this year’s Kidscard event – the scarecrow contest. During the second half of October, personalized scarecrows created by those artists will be on display throughout the Center and shoppers can vote for their favorites.

There’s another tie-in with Halloween this year – the Kidscard Corner in the Webster Bank parking lot which will take place from 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. on Oct. 24, during the town’s Halloween Stroll. Zeligson said that not only will cards be sold, but there will be prizes, candy, balloons, coffee, and doughnuts. Rock Cats mascot “Rocky,” who is now on his “farewell tour,” will also be on hand, she said.

“Putting a face with the mission will get people to understand how they’re helping by participating in the program,” said Zelligson, who owns Labrazel Home on LaSalle Road and is also a Connecticut Children’s Medical Center Board member. “You make that connection and it makes it very personal,” said Zeligson. She’s hoping it inspires a greater level of support.

Since she founded the program in 2006, more than $280,000 has been raised. Last year Kidscard raised $41,000, and this year the goal is to surpass $50,000, Zeligson said.

Cards will be sold in participating stores beginning Oct. 15, but are already available online. The cards sell for $50 each, and 100 percent of that amount this year goes directly to the Division of Digestive Diseases at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center.

Cards can be used from Oct. 22 through Oct. 31 at all participating retailers and restaurants. Click here for a complete list.

The benefits to Kidscard holders include 20 percent savings throughout the Center and Blue Back Square stores as well as restaurants. “A large majority of the stores and restaurants are participating – more than 65 in all,” Zeligson said. Although many may automatically think to use the card to save on jewelry or fashions, Zeligson said that not everyone considers the other uses like stocking up on winter supplies at Larsen Ace Hardware, getting their dry cleaning done at French’s Cleaners, or purchasing a case of wine at Toast. Another benefit of Kidscard is a $2 discount each time you park in a town-owned garage or the Brace Road parking lot.

Kidscard is a great way to save money while doing some early holiday shopping – and also grab a bite to eat before or after with a discount at many West Hartford Center and Blue Back Square restaurants. It’s also a great excuse to shop local and try out a new business, said Zeligson.

“It’s the one time of year that West Hartford Center really comes together to support a local cause,” Zeligson said. Everyone plays a major role – the town, the sponsors, the stores, and the restaurants. “It’s the one charity that we all work on together,” she said.

For additional information, visit www.centerkidscard.org. Follow West Hartford Center Kidscard on Facebook for updates and additional events like a possible Happy Hour launch on Oct. 22, and to read more about the ambassadors.

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