When Jay and Raquel Winkler set out to raise money for Hurricane Sandy relief by selling Jersey Shore-themed lacrosse shorts, it was intended to be for a limited time only.
But when the pair—who own Mesh Lacrosse, an apparel business specializing in lacrosse shorts with creative designs—saw how much money they were able to raise, "for a limited time only" became "indefinitely."
Initially, the idea was just to raise as much money as quickly as they could to get it to the people who needed it most in the wake of the storm, said Jay. "We really just wanted to help out in some way."
During that initial round of fundraising, they collected $6,754.50 for the Red Cross through the sale of the shorts.
Jay, who serves as the creative director for Idea Lab Marketing in his day job, called it a "snowball effect": word spread about the shorts and people from as far away as Texas, California and North Carolina—who had ties to the Garden State—snatched them up.
"It's just nostalgic," Jay said of the shorts, which feature colorful images of the boardwalk and Atlantic City. "We got emails from people in very far away states who grew up in Jersey."
The Winklers initially cut off orders just before Thanksgiving, so they could get the shorts to people in time for Christmas. But for this second go-round, Jay said they've extended the availability of the shorts indefinitely.
"We're trying to raise as much as possible," he said.
As before, all the proceeds will go to the Red Cross. Jay said at first he had misgivings about donating to such a large organization, worrying that the money somehow wouldn't end up going to the right places. But after they sent their donation, he said the Red Cross sent him a breakdown of where all the funds (approximately $110 millon) were going, which assuaged his concerns.
The shorts (pictured above) can be purchased for $35 through the Mesh Lacrosse website.