06/10/11 — $21,000 for sick children ... one dollar at a time

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$21,000 for sick children ... one dollar at a time

By Aaron Moore
Published in News on June 10, 2011 1:46 PM

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Anyone who shops at Sam's Club knows Vicki Mozingo for her smile, laugh, and love of children. She has raised more than $21,000 for the Children's Miracle Network at Duke Children's Hospital -- one dollar at a time.

Shoppers at Sam's Club know Vicki Mozingo as the lady at the door with the big smile.

And those who talk to her might even know that she is passionate about children.

But what they probably don't know is that Mrs. Mozingo has raised more than $21,000 in two and a half years for Children's Miracle Network, a non-profit group that helps terminally ill children afford health care at Duke Children's Hospital.

And she has done it by starting with a dollar.

Since Sam's Club has a no soliciting policy, Mrs. Mozingo can't ask customers for donations outright.

So, she wears a Children's Miracle Network button with a dollar bill pinned to her vest.

Then, she waits for Sam's Club customers to ask her why.

And when they do, she shares her goal -- that every sick child will find the best care, and  will be able to pay for it.

"If I had a child and it needed help and it went to Duke Hospital, I would be glad somebody had compassion to help," Mrs. Mozingo said, tearing up as she thought of "the babies" in need.

She says the conversations are easy. She just says what's in her heart.

"You've got to be a people person," she said. "People know when you're genuine and you want to help."

When they hear about her mission, Mrs. Mozingo said most people pull out their wallets -- sometimes with a dollar to match hers or more.

She said she is glad to have any donation.

"Sometimes I might get a dollar at a time, sometimes I might get 15 or 20," Mrs. Mozingo said. "It's volume in numbers. Every little bit helps."

Customers like to joke with her, asking what the "toll" is to get out of the store.

For Jeff Thomas, on his way out of the store on this day, handing over a dollar was a pleasure.

"It's a blessing she does that,"  Thomas said. "She doesn't have to, but she chooses to."

Mrs. Mozingo said the most inspiring part of her job is getting donations from children.

"It's real touching when a child gives to another child," she said. "They hand me money and tell me it's their allowance, and I say, 'Are you sure?' And they just smile."

Mrs. Mozingo's new goal is to raise $30,000, a feat she expects to reach within the next year. And she won't stop there.

"As long as people are willing to give and want to give, I'll keep on," she said. "I could choose to quit but I don't because I consider it a blessing and a ministry."