It Takes a (Bavarian) Village to Help Animals

by Lee Chambers

Yankee Candle Village Store


Arcade tokens, a toy soldier, a tiny giraffe figurine, a fake fingernail, marbles and a Big Y coin. These were just some of the objects that were scooped up and collected recently from the bottom of the Bavarian Village Moat at the Yankee Candle Village store in South Deerfield, MA. The annual cleaning also yielded more than $3,251 in coins that had been tossed into the moat by shoppers who wanted to contribute to Dakin.

The coin collection is a ritual that began in 2002 when the moat was installed in the store. Yankee Candle designated Dakin as the recipient of the coins from the beginning, and 16 years later, the generosity of both shoppers at Yankee Candle and the organization itself has provided more than $56,000 to help animals at Dakin.

According to Wade Bassett, director of sales and operations at Yankee's flagship store, “Yankee Candle Village is so proud to be part of the local community, and being able to give back is very important to us. We are honored to be able to donate our Bavarian Village moat money annually to Dakin as we appreciate all they are doing to keep pets happy and healthy.” Wade noted that the store usually welcomes more than a half million visitors each year.

Dakin usually gets the call from Yankee in late August alerting us that the annual moat cleaning is about to take place. At that point, a specific plan is launched; volunteers are sought to bring the numerous baskets of coins from Yankee to Dakin’s Springfield location, a team of volunteers and staff form an assembly line to clean, dry and sort the coins, and finally the coins are taken to the bank to be counted and deposited in Dakin's account.

That middle steps take around five days to accomplish. The coins arrive at Dakin in need of deep cleaning. They soak in a sink that contains a combination of CLR cleaner and water.  They're scrubbed, moved to an adjacent sink for rinsing, then set out on towels. Several small fans are aimed at the coins to speed up the drying process. This cleaning procedure usually involves 8-10 Dakin volunteers, plus staff.

According to Molly Biechele, associate director of development at Dakin, "Going through money and miscellaneous items that have been underwater in a moat for a year may not be the most glamorous or exciting job. We are so grateful to the volunteers who clean, sort and prepare the thousands of coins for the bank. With their help the job doesn’t seem as daunting and we have fun while we complete the whole process in less than a week."

Dakin extends big thanks to our incredible volunteers who come together and work so quickly and efficiently when it’s “moat time,” to all who toss a coin to help Dakin animals, and to Yankee Candle Company for its ongoing generosity.


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