Saturday, April 23, 2005

Loaves, Fishes, Junk, and Kindness

Remember a few months or so ago, when I talked about Jacob going to Tucson for a program called Conductive Education? You can read more about it, here.

Well, Jacob progressed so nicely there during those six weeks, that we felt that it was important for him to have more of that experience this summer. Jodi is planning to take him to Tucson again for a month and a half or two in June and July, and then we’re bringing the program here for a month in July and August, so that some Salt Lake City families can take advantage of it.

All in all, that’s going to cost some significant money. Probably around $18,000 or so. Fortunately, much of that is the cost of the Salt Lake program, and most of that will be covered by the parents of the other participating children. But that still leaves a hefty chunk for our own Tucson tuition, and also the living expenses as well.

So, some friends of Jodi’s banded together and decided to help out. One friend in particular really went above and beyond the call and put in a lot of work. She organized a massive group yard sale in the driveways of her house and her sister’s house (they’re next-door neighbors). With donated junk from I don’t know how many families we lined these two yards and driveways. This friend of Jodi’s also organized charity scrapbooking events.

I thought, that’s a really nice effort, but really, how much money is it likely to bring in… Maybe a couple hundred, tops? That’s not even going to chip a hole in the amount we need to come up with.

But with the fire that, I think, only a mother can muster, these two ladies got on the ‘net and their email lists, and their personal networks of family, friends, and ward members, and got mountains of donations. They got local stores to donate gift certificates for raffle prizes. They got people to sign up and prepay for the scrapbooking events.

And today was the yard sale. The stuff we had literally overwhelmed the two yards. And people came in a steady stream until the early afternoon, when it started to slow. It never really stopped, though. And as people learned that it was a charitable yard sale, they spent more, or they paid more, or they just simply dropped money in the jar at the table.

One man, kind of a grizzled old guy with a ponytail halfway down his back, paid 25 cents for two books, then dropped $40 into the kitty. And that was just one example.

And when it started to slow down, we looked across the lawn and there was still a lot of stuff. We’d been selling things all day. We could see the growing pool in the cash box and the contribution jar. But it didn’t look like things were moving. My wife’s friend, the organizer, commented that it was like the miracle of the loaves and the fishes.

It reminds me of the verse that tells us that there is plenty in this earth, and to spare. It makes me want to rethink that scripture. I used to think that it simply meant that we need to manage our limited resources. Now I wonder if it means that when we share we find that there is more than we started with.

And in the end? The total of all the efforts was almost $3000. I’m still amazed.

Mark Hansen

1 comment:

  1. goosebumps. all I can say is goosebumps.



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