By LINDA WOODLAND
After a five-year run, Fostoria Cash Mob is disbanding.
The announcement was made on Facebook Sunday by Greg Flores, president and founder of the group.
“Now’s the time we need to move away from doing Cash Mob with all that we’re involved in and how busy our lives have become with our son growing up,” he said, adding his responsibilities have also changed since taking a job with Wells Fargo as a mortgage consultant.
In addition, Flores said his 12-year-old son Mathew is active in three different sports, one of which Flores coaches.
“He’s a baseball, football, basketball kind of guy,” he said.
But the most notable reason for Flores and his wife Aymee to step back from Cash Mob is a new opportunity.
“We were asked to take on new roles with the IMagINe for Youth Foundation founded by Micah Hyde. We wanted to devote time to that because the foundation is not only huge for our community locally, but nationwide for a lot of kids.”
Flores is Senior Director of Business Development and Operations volunteer for the foundation while Aymee is Director of Business Development and Operations.
“It’s tough to focus on two things you want to give 110 percent to,” he said. “You know, Cash Mob had a great run. We did so much in five years for the community. I know it stinks, but all good things have to come to an end.”
Flores started Fostoria Cash Mob five years ago by “mobbing” local business with customers. The idea was to get a large group of people to go to a business together and spend money to give that business a one-day sales boost.
“Our very first one was JB Twisters. We all went to JB Twisters, through the drive through. Then we did Ace Hardware in November.”
From there, the group grew in numbers and outreach. In December of 2012, the group offered a gift basket raffle and raised $2,000-$3,000 and serving about a half-dozen families. In 2016, the group raised nearly $6,000 to provide Christmas to Fostoria families in need.
“I think we started the very first year (helping) five or seven families (at Christmas). Last year we helped 100 families and over 200 kids. Every year it grew,” he said, adding although support grew along the way, so did the amount of work and effort.
The group also gave gift cards to Fostoria patrolmen to hand out to unsuspecting motorists and provided Christmas dinner to safety forces working on the holiday. In addition, Cash Mob organized and hosted a Christmas Carnival last year.
But such outreach requires a lot of time, effort and people — all of which is becoming increasingly in short supply.
“One of the people in our group just had back surgery and is having a bunch of issues,” he said, adding others have taken on more responsibility in their workplace. “All of our group members are just starting to get spread thin as well.
“It started with us. It’s not they came to us and said we can’t do it anymore. It’s just, we couldn’t do it. You know, I started it and I didn’t feel it was right to pass all that on to somebody else that doesn’t know what’s going on,” he said, adding he knows in his heart members of the group will continue to help and support local organizations and nonprofits.
Flores said he has faith in the community to pick up where Cash Mob has left off.
“It stinks because we filled a gap in Fostoria,” Flores said, choking up. “I’ll be an advocate to push the Christmas for Every Child and the people who donate to Fostoria Cash Mob to please donate to them. It was a great partnership to get all the resources we could to help every family.”
He also encouraged the community to keep giving to other organizations and nonprofits in town as well.
“On behalf of Cash Mob and myself we just really want to say thank you to Fostoria and the community and everybody supporting what we’ve done the last five years because without them, there’s no way we could’ve done it.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: See Tuesday’s edition of the Review Times to read about how the community can support a Christmas for Every Child and how families in need can sign up for the program.