Windham – It was a “Make a Difference Day” like no other in Windham, this past Saturday. It was a cold, blustery fall day, but that did not deter 200-plus folks from coming out to express their love and appreciation for Maruf Awad, owner of the local Sparkle Market in Windham. Instead of doing something specific for the community as a whole, they decided it was time to pay it forward to one of their own.
About two weeks ago, Community in Action (CAW) for Windham was formed and decided they wanted to honor one of their own for Make a Difference Day. They quietly began to spread the word of their plan to surprise Maruf with a cash mob, a card, and a banner to show their appreciation for all he has done for the community of Windham. The word spread quickly as folks began to gather Saturday morning at the fire station to sign a card and walk to the Sparkle Market to surprise Maruf. Shortly before 10 am, a parade of sorts was formed and headed down Center Street, being escorted by a Windham Police Cruiser, followed by about 200-plus community members carrying banners and a card expressing their love and appreciation for the store owner. The fire trucks from the WVFD brought up the rear of the make-shift parade as they made their way down Center Street.
The crowd arrived at the Sparkle Market, chanting “Maruf! Maruf!” Maruf exited the store to see what the commotion in the parking lot was all about. When a very surprised Maruf appeared, the crowd erupted with cheers and began to chant “Maruf! Maruf!” again. After giving Maruf a moment to compose himself after the surprise, CAW Organizer Charity Showalter, read the letter of appreciation and presented the storeowner with giant card and the many cards that were mailed to her. The group also presented nearly $500 in cash from area residents who were willing to put their money where their heart was. Folks then flocked to the store to purchase items as the check-out lines grew and the registers began ringing up the sales. Maruf thanked everyone and then announced that he plans to donate the cash back Windham schools.
Maruf has been a mainstay in Windham for 30 years and has generously donated to every group in Windham that has asked for a donation. He has been known to help many in the area that have had needs, without tooting his own horn. He truly embraces the “Bomber” spirit that the community holds so dear.
The event was sponsored by the CAW and they have more events planned for the year. The group was designed to bring folks together to improve the community and to help give kids something positive to do, rather than run the streets. They are about serving the Community of Windham, by having events for families and supporting each other in good times and bad.
CAW would like to thank the community for coming out to support their efforts and especially thanks Dee’s Hometown Diner which is located in the plaza next to the Sparkle Market, who provided hot chocolate and coffee for the cash mob, the Windham Police Department and WVFD for their help with getting folks safely to the Sparkle Market from the fire station. For more information on CAW activities and events one can visit them on Face Book.