Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Winding Down

On December 31st, 2012, the 9/11 Patch Project Store will be closing. This comes after 11 years of providing the 9/11 Patches, Decals and other fund raising items. With sales slowing to a crawl the past couple of years, it is evident that many people and organizations are not interested in making the patches or decals their promise to NEVER FORGET.

We understand there are people and organizations that have made the patches and decals their permanent tribute and will provide them the opportunity to stock up on any items for the next few weeks. You can still purchase these and other items on the website HERE, until December 31st of 2012 or at Firehouse World, in San Diego on February 20-21 (exhibit hall-- at the San Diego Convention Center.)

The Future of the 9/11 Patch Project: As for the patches and other merchandise, we will re-evaluate in one year and if the demand returns, we may reopen to provide the items. There are just not enough organizations interested in participating as a group anymore. Filling orders for single patches and decals is very time consuming and does not produce much in the way of donations. For example; we have to order patches at a minimum of 100 and there are 4 different patches. That is a $250 to $300 cost per patch for us each time we reorder, and folks are only buying them a couple at a time for keepsakes. By the time we recover the costs of the merchandise, we have to reorder again--so we are constantly chasing the inventory. That was not the case in the first 6 months of the project as organizations were coming on board with the project at 100-500 patches per order. That is how we initially raised $15,000 to donate to the FDNY's Uniformed Firefighters Association in September of 2002.

What does help us with fund raising are the projects we develop like the 10 Yr 9/11 Manhattan to Manhattan Tour and the Fully Involved Comedy Tour. The cross country bus tour netted about $6300 for each charity we support (NYC Bravest Scholarship Fund, Feal Good Foundation and Terry Farrell Fund) and the success in fund raising for the Fully Involved Comedy Tours is yet to be seen. Sponsorships are vital to pull of the event in San Diego and we just don't have enough organizations coming forward to help out. So this is an ongoing concern as well.

MT SAC Fire Academy- Wearing 9/11 Patch since 2002
Patch Project Founders Thoughts (Brett Hill): 11 years is a long time to continue beating the NEVER FORGET drum. The sounds are still very audible for those deeply effected and becoming faint as the years pass; even for newer firefighters who don't feel the connection despite the fact that 9/11 and the loss of 343 firefighters is now a significant part of firefighting history. We are a resilient nation and we suffer losses and move one. The 9/11 Patch Project was formed to honor and remember these heroes while raising funds for worthy 9/11 organizations. As powerful and deeply emotional as this event in our history was, many have just moved on.

Can we sustain with the fund raising Comedy Tours? There is obviously nothing funny about 9/11 but top comedians coming together for great causes just makes sense. Laughter is great medicine and it helps us heal--the potential to raise a good deal of funds on behalf of those who show up, is a great result.

So if you have purchased the decals or patches in the past, now is a great time to replenish your stock. If you want one of the signed and numbered "Ground Zero Spirit" photos taken by Thomas E. Franklin, now is the time to pick up one of only 911 signed. I have filled most of the 10,000 plus orders over the years and would love to continue that work but it seems as if the people have spoken. I need to evolve the project or move on. How successful we are with the fund raising tours in the future, is once again "up to the people."

Thanks to all the supporters out there that have kept us and our promise to NEVER FORGET going these past 11 years!