CAROL STREAM — Patrons who enter Sauer's Bakery are greeted by the amazing aroma wafting through the air.
And the word “amazing” also can describe the Carol Stream bakery owners, Deb and Paul Sauer, and their friendly staff. Together they are on a mission to support the Wounded Warrior Project, which benefits those who served our country since Sept. 11, 2001.
“There is no greater a hero than the men and women who fought for our freedom,” said Deb. “It's up to us to look after the people that looked after us.”
The Sauers were aware of the Wounded Warrior Project and how it supports wounded veterans, their families and caregivers. It was just a matter of time before they decided how they were going to help the cause.
But when the Carol Stream American Legion Post 76 Ladies' Auxiliary requested a donation for their WWP fundraiser dinner Feb. 16, the Sauers saw this as an opportunity to do something sooner rather than later. Not only did they donate 250 apple slices for the auxiliary fundraiser, they offered to put out a donation jar at the bakery.
“It's something in my husband's and my heart,” Deb said about their reason for supporting the WWP.
Legion Auxiliary President Paula Krasnow can't say enough about the Sauers' generosity and their incredible efforts in supporting a cause that Krasnow holds dear to her heart.
“They're astonishing,” she said.
Krasnow hopes other business owners will be inspired by Deb and Paul's efforts and realize that no matter the size of the business, everyone can make an impact.
“Even small businesses can contribute a little here and a little there,” she said. “And every little bit helps.”
In less than a month, the Sauers' customers donated more than $165 to the WWP.
“I expected them to donate change” said Deb.
But to her amazement, customers have been stuffing the donation jar with $5, $20 and more.
“I am overwhelmed with gratitude at the community's generosity,” she said.
Realizing just how many customers were willing to support WWP, the Sauers and their employees hope to raise $10,000 by the end of the year. Deb even attached a note to the donation jar mentioning their goal and asking for the customers' assistance on behalf of our veterans.
“If each one (customer) just gave fifty cents, we can give $10,000,” she said.
Through additional research, Deb learned that Wounded Warrior T-shirts are available and soon these shirts will be part of the employees' uniform.
“This is another way for Sauer's Corporation to support them (veterans),” said Deb.
The website www.woundedwarriorproject.org includes the Wounded Warrior Project mission, which is to honor and empower wounded warriors.
The vision is to foster the most successful, well-adjusted generation of wounded service members in our nation's history. And the purpose of WWP is to raise awareness and enlist the public's help for the needs of injured service members; to help injured service members assist each other; and to provide unique, direct programs and services to meet the needs of injured service members.
Deb was very impressed to learn that most every cent donated to WWP assists the veterans with very little going toward overhead.
As far as the Sauers are concerned, the donation jar will sit on the counter — to the right of the cash register — for as long as patrons continue to make donations.
“No matter if the war is ended or not, the care our men and women need will last a lifetime,” said Deb.