Books for Brownies: A Mom’s Journey to Give Back to the Corps
When Marine mom Tera Singletary, received the 2013 Year-End Challenge Donation Campaign in the mail from the Marine Corps Association Foundation (MCAF), she more than answered the challenge. Tera’s son PFC John A. Singletary recently graduated from Marine Corps recruit training at Parris Island, SC, and is currently training in Camp Pendleton, Calif., for his military occupational specialty.
“I wanted to make a monthly contribution,” said Singletary. “But I knew that there was more that I could do. We can’t repay Marines for what they have done but at least we could try.”
Originally from Keyport, NJ, Tera raised her son with the assistance of her father, Sgt Robert H. Singletary. Sgt Singletary served in the Marine Corps in the 1950s. Her father would read books to John on military history.
“My father would always sit and read to John. He loved books and passed his knowledge down to his grandson,” said Singletary. “ I remember when John was 3 years old he would even sing the Marine Corps hymn.”
After her initial donation, she thought about her Marine father, her Marine son and their shared love of reading. She came up with the idea to start the campaign, Books for Brownies, to raise money for MCAF’s Commanders’ Unit Library Program. The unit libraries support Marines and give them the knowledge to excel in their professional development while serving their country. Each library is tailored to fit the immediate needs of the Marine unit and is comprised of books carefully selected from the Commandant’s Reading List.
LawraLynn Diehl, a donor relations coordinator at MCAF, has been instrumental in the foundation’s efforts to support Marines and their professional development.
“Our donors aren’t content to sit on the side lines,” said Diehl. “Each one of them has so much creativity and unique skills. Our purpose is to give them opportunities to use their passion to raise money and awareness for a cause that they believe in—their Marines!”
Tera approached the Human Resources Department at her workplace and was given approval to start her campaign. She erected signs and small posters at coffee machines and in the hallways at her office to elicit donations. Her company agreed to match the money she was able to raise dollar-for-dollar.
As a Marine mom, Tera decided that another good way to raise money was to make her famous brownies.
“Everyone in the office loved my brownies and my spinach dip”, said Singletary. “So I figured that I could have a bake sale for books.”
Each co-worker who participated in her fundraising campaign signed their names on a bookplate and had the option to write a personal message to the Marine who would receive the book. She wanted the Marines to experience a personal connection with those supporting them.
Her goal was to raise $1,775 in honor of the Marine Corps’ birth year, and by the end of the campaign she exceeded her goal by raising almost $2,000.
On July 17, 2014, she traveled from New Jersey to the MCAF offices in Quantico, Va., to see the project come to fruition. Tera worked alongside staff to carefully add the personalized bookplates to each book. A few hours later, she had enough books to ship to three Marine units—the equivalent of approximately 1,200 Marines.
“Be involved and remain grateful for the sacrifices these Marines have made,” said Singletary. “Something as simple as a tip jar could help make a difference. Let’s not just talk about what we could do, but do it.”
If you’re a motivated Marine parent or friend of the Corps and you want to start your own campaign, contact us at 877-469-6223 or email@example.com.
Learn more about all our Foundation’s programs for Marines or support our programs with a tax-deductible donation: www.mcafdn.org.
- Tina Valentine