Eden Prairie Center is currently hosting an inspiring event that transcends typical holiday decor shopping.
The Holiday & Home Decor Sample Sale, which started last weekend and runs until Sunday, Nov. 12, during regular mall hours, is making a significant impact.
Shoppers can find the sample sale (located in a storefront) adjacent to the AMC movie theaters, Sandbox VR, the food court, and Scheels.
This sale has already seen around $22,000 in merchandise sold as of Friday, Nov. 10, and it continues to draw in shoppers. However, what truly sets this event apart is the meaningful cause it supports.
Much of the proceeds from this event will be donated to The Grief Club of Minnesota, a nonprofit organization providing vital support to grieving families.
The motivation behind this heartfelt initiative stems from the loss of 16-year-old Aaron Husmann, who tragically died by suicide during his junior year at Eden Prairie High School last April.
Aaron’s mother, Thuy Husmann, has transformed her grief into a movement of awareness and support. She attests to the crucial role of The Grief Club in aiding her family over the past months.
Thuy, living in Shakopee with her husband, Jamey, and their five other children, is a driving force behind these sales, alongside friends like Molly Stoffel. Their efforts focus on raising suicide awareness and assisting families facing similar tragedies.
Stoffel acknowledges Thuy’s significant role in expanding the vision of these sales. It’s not just about fundraising for The Grief Club, but also about emphasizing mental well-being and providing grief resources.
“Thuy said it was originally about raising money for The Grief Club,” Stoffel noted. “But then she made it so much bigger. She took it to a whole new level. That was Thuy.”
A poignant feature of the store is a large tribute banner at the entrance. Initially displaying five names of young men, including Aaron, with local ties who died by suicide, it is now filled with many additional names added by shoppers.
Aaron’s Ornaments for Kids
Thuy recently discussed a charitable project called “Aaron’s Ornaments for Kids,” which she and Jamey launched at the sample sale.
According to Thuy, the initiative involves a basket filled with selected ornaments that participants can obtain by making a $6 donation. She explained that once a donation is made, individuals can choose an ornament, which is then placed in a wooden basket for later wrapping. Each of these ornaments features a small sticker bearing the name “Aaron.”
“The ornament present has a small sticker of Aaron on it,” Thuy said. “We will then bring the ornaments to the Children’s Hospital for kids to pick an ornament as well as to the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) for parents to pick one for their child in NICU. We have about 150 ornaments so far that have been purchased for Aaron’s Ornaments.”
In addition to their efforts with the ornaments, Thuy and her team collaborated with a local group of single teenage mothers, providing them with financial support to shop for ornaments. The intention behind this collaboration is to help these young mothers establish their own ornament tradition.
“We thought of this because we have an annual tradition of bringing the kids each year to pick an ornament, which would hang on our tree alongside ornaments from previous years,” she said. “However, the intention is to have a set of ornaments that will be given to them when they have their own place with a tree as adults.”
Thuy also indicated her plans to engage with the school regarding another fundraising opportunity, aiming to channel her efforts into meaningful work in honor of Aaron.
Funds from the sample sale will also support the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Minnesota chapter, furthering suicide prevention and mental health initiatives.
For anyone experiencing a crisis, the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is available at 988 or by texting MN to 741741. Trained counselors are ready to help 24/7/365.
In urgent situations, contact 9-1-1 and request a Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) officer.
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