Karen O'Brien and Faye Schurman are part of the knitting group that is turning $50 worth of yarn into fingerless gloves to be sold for $10 a pair. Jane Kohlenberg used her seed money to launch the charity fund-raiser.
The November magazine article struck a chord with Jane Kohlenberg: Instead of her church donating money to a national organization as part of its 150th anniversary celebration, each family in the congregation could be given money to spend on a worthy cause.
The resulting challenge issued at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Pemberville this month?
Take $50 in seed money, pray, don't spend it on yourself, and do something good for someone.
"Sometimes it's easier to give money than to make an effort to do something locally for people," Mrs. Kohlenberg said.
For Mrs. Kohlenberg, the challenge has resulted in buying $50 worth of yarn. She and other knitters in a group who meet at Pemberville Public Library, where Mrs. Kohlenberg is director, are going to make it into fingerless gloves.
Mrs. Kohlenberg plans to sell them for $10 a pair, with proceeds benefiting a charity that has yet to be selected.
The "Pray It Forward" program involves about 150 families, and they have until Sept. 11 to decide how to spend the money.
"We just felt that we've been really blessed for 150 years," said Cheryl Sondergeld, Christian Life coordinator at the church. "In the same spirit, we wanted to honor God and give back."
Added Mrs. Sondergeld, to whom Mrs. Kohlenberg went with the Pray It Forward idea: "I think it's a great way to celebrate and involve the community."
Mrs. Sondergeld and her family turned their $50 into more than $1,900, which they gave to a local ill child who dreamed of swimming with dolphins.
Jane Kohlenberg, director of the Pemberville Public Library, where a group of knitters meets, works on fingerless gloves to sell for $10 a pair, with proceeds to benefit a charity that has yet to be selected.
The Sondergelds knew the child's family, who already had received some help for the upcoming Florida trip, and talked about their situation with other people mostly outside of church who also donated money.
"It just all seemed to fit together," Mrs. Sondergeld said. "Things that are meant to be don't take a whole lot of work."
Another Bethlehem Lutheran congregant, Corine Wightman, couldn't think of who would really benefit from $50. So she posted a request on Facebook, asking her more than 600 friends to message her about who could use the money most.
Out of a dozen truly worthy responses, Mrs. Wightman and her 12-year-old daughter, Harley, agreed on one that stood out most. The Facebook friend wrote about an area relative taking care of three siblings, including one disabled by an accident, with little income or possessions.
Mrs. Wightman went to their home unannounced because the family has no telephone. She looked for the van painted with house paint she had told about, which the siblings take to McDonald's once a week for the treat of a hamburger each and a shared order of small fries.
The $50 plus some groceries and McDonald's gift certificates were met with tears of amazement, Mrs. Wightman said.
"She was just overwhelmed," Mrs. Wightman said of the woman who has cared for her siblings for years. "Something so small, how it can change a life like that."
Now, instead of regularly going to a movie theater, Mrs. Wightman and her family plan to have at-home movie nights and use the savings to continue helping the four siblings and others, Mrs. Wightman said.
The Pray It Forward program is a good way for families to discuss who has needs and problems, Mrs. Kohlenberg said.
"I think this is a good way for kids to understand what it really means to give," she said.
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