Positivity generates $1,800-plus donation to benefit Rock River Valley Pantry families

CandleCrest owner Judy Bieck prepares Rockford Candles in her home studio, Friday, Feb. 7, 2014. Photo by Greg Farnham.

Candle Crest co-owner Judy Bieck prepares Rockford Candles in her home studio, Friday, Feb. 7, 2014. Photo by Greg Farnham.

When Candle Crest owners Judy and Dave Bieck debuted their Rockford Candle “Positivity” in October, they did so to prove positivity could spread faster than unfavorable publicity in the region.

This week, the couple will prove themselves right.

The Biecks will meet with Rock River Valley Pantry volunteers, staff and the pantry’s executive director, Kim Adams-Bakke at 2 p.m. Wednesday to help Rockford’s image grow beyond negative labels via a special donation.

Fifty percent of the net profit from each Rockford Candle sold from October to February is being donated to the area pantry — that’s a whopping $1,825 that will reach an estimated 2,100 families.

“Every dollar makes a difference when someone is hungry,” Adams-Bakke said, noting the pantry has incredible buying power, since it buys by the pallet. “It doesn’t matter how big or how small the donation is, it immediately provides food to people that are going hungry.”

The Rock River Valley Pantry serves more than 7,100 people per month, 40 percent of which are children. Urgently needed foods include vegetables and canned fruits for the client’s food bags. The donation, made possible through the sale of the candles, will allow the pantry to purchase over 9,521 cans of 15 oz. green beans.

“My goal, since the start, was to do something that’s 100 percent positive for Rockford,” Judy Bieck said. “This is just the start.”

The pineapple, bamboo and sage-scented candle is sold in 12oz jars and has been produced by the Rockford-based business since the fall to sell at area retailers for $15. Each quarter of the year, Candle Crest will select another not-for-profit organization to be the recipient of funds aimed to boost quality of life in the region.

Next up to benefit from the Rockford Candle’s sales is Carpenter’s Place. Carpenter’s Place “provides the tools necessary for rebuilding the lives of homeless adults” in the area, according to its website.

Selfless acts can help others. That’s why Debbie Aiello and her sister Kat, stock the Rockford Candle at Roxy Carmichael, their 7-year-old shop on Alpine Road.

“Everybody loves them,” Aiello said. “It’s something positive to talk about. As soon as they are in, they are gone. If I order two dozen, we’ve already got 18 of them sold and they sell as fast as they come in. It’s something more; it’s such a good thing to be promoting something that is benefiting everyone.”

The Rockford Candle is good for organizations, but also good for local small businesses, said Skyler Davis of Culture Shock, a clothing, gift and record shop in the Charles Street corridor.

“The Rockford Candle was our most requested local gift during the last season,” he said. “Especially for people who are dedicated to our community and want to give friends and family a piece of home as a gift.”

The Biecks have been dreaming up their own scents for their soy-based candles since before their inception in January 2009. The Rockford Candle was developed by Judy Bieck as a response to Forbes Magazine positioning Rockford as No. 3 in its list of “America’s Most Miserable Cities,” in early 2013. Forbes cited declines in the city’s manufacturing base, high property taxes and local unemployment in the ranking. Since the ranking was released, the Biecks has been building the scent and product, solidifying the local business support to mass produce the product to stock local shelves recently.

The Rockford Candle is available for purchase at more than a dozen retail locations including Culture Shock, O’Fallon’s Flowers, Rockford Art Deli, The Canine Crunchery and online. Candle Crest produces clean-burning soy candles with long lasting burn times and rich fragrances. The soy candles are individually hand poured using soy wax from U.S. soybeans. The products feature lead-free wicks and are a healthier alternative to paraffin to provide a cleaner burn for you, your family and your pets.

Betsy Lopez-Wagner is a bilingual media communications professional, specializing in journalism and marketing.  Contact her here

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Categories: Community & Events, Rockford's Own

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