Fund Raising Efforts

October 10, 2015
The shopping area near my childhood home.

The shopping area near my childhood home.

Over the years… starting as a young child selling hand made pot holders door-to-door so I’d have money to buy Christmas presents for my family, I’ve been involved in many fund raising activities.

In high school, I was a member of the Key Club (a junior Kiwanis club) and distributed local phone directories in exchange for donations. I also helped sell Christmas trees to raise money for our charitable pursuits.

During my college years, I volunteered as a tutor at the local high school, but my fund raising activities were focused on paying my tuition, room and board, and occasional glass of beer.

After college, I got involved with the LIONS club and sold brooms, light bulbs, fruitcakes, pancake breakfast tickets, and raffle tickets among other items.

At church, I’ve been involved with yard sales, Irish dinners, auctions, and numerous other fund raising efforts.

Is it any wonder that somehow I got snookered into being the Fund Raising chair of our local Family Promise affiliate? Family Promise is an organization whose mission it is to help homeless children and their parents get back into a home of their own. For more information on Family Promise, I invite you to visit the Family Promise web site.

My past endeavors were small potatoes compared with my current challenges. In the past, the most money raised by any of the things I worked with was a few thousand dollars. Now I’m faced with raising at least $50,000 to get the program started and then meeting an annual budget of over $125,000.

Our fund raising committee has started a number of things to get that money flowing. We have Club 180 which encourages donors to help turn a life around (180 degrees) by pledging and donating $180 per year. We’ve also placed donation canisters in many local businesses. (One of those canisters was stolen. It probably contained less than $20 at the time. It’s sad that people would steal from charities, but maybe they needed the money more than our homeless children. Another story for another time!)

In less than a month we will hold our first major fund raising event. It will be Bed Race & Festival. On November 7th, we’ll welcome local citizens at 9:00 AM at Forsyth Central High School where they can visit at least 14 booths selling various items, have their child’s face painted, or let their child create a work of art that will be donated to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta for another fund raising event.

The bed races will begin around 10:00 AM. Each team will compete in two heats and their time will be recorded. The two teams with the fastest combined times will then compete in the finals at noon.

While there will be a trophy for the team with the fastest bed, the big prize – the coveted Brass Bed award – will go to the team that raises the most money for Family Promise.

In case you’re wondering why I bring this up…

My entry in the Bed Race

My entry in the Bed Race

As of last night, my friends and family have donated almost $900 to Family Promise in support of my bed entry. I’ve given my bed the title of “First Day of Retirement” and it will be pushed by a group of retired senior citizens. Our goal is to prove that old age and treachery can defeat youth and enthusiasm any day of the year. If you like that thought (regardless of your age) I’d appreciate your demonstration of support… in terms of dollars donated to Family Promise.

You can make a donation to my bed or any of my competitors by going to our local local Family Promise Bed Race page.

Obviously I feel very strongly about Family Promise. Forsyth County, Georgia is one of the wealthiest areas in the country and yet, as of this past Thursday (October 8th) there were three hundred forty-three children considered homeless since the beginning of the current school year. A child is considered homeless if he or she is living with friends or relatives, living in an extended stay motel, living in a tent or camping trailer, or living in the family car.

You can also help the cause by buying any of my e-books that are available for your Kindle or Nook. I’ve stated that I will donate half of my royalties to Family Promise. If need be, I’ll give it all to Family Promise.

Pure and simple, I cannot do this alone. I need all my friends, family, readers, casual acquaintances, and everyone else to chip in. We have almost 200,000 people living in Forsyth County. If I could find a way to obtain at least $1.00 from each of them, we’d have the money problem solved. Sadly, I have yet to figure out how to do that. So, I’m reaching out to everyone I can think of.

I already received backing from a friend in London, England. Let’s see if we can get donations from other parts of the world!

Please spread the word! Thank you kindly.

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Too Many Projects – Too Little Time

June 27, 2009

Today began with an 8:00 a.m. meeting at the church. Being the host, I arrived around 7:20 and started the coffee.

That meeting ended near 11:00 a.m. and I arrived home in time to learn that my son is still planning on holding his belated birthday party today. We’ll have to leave here around 4:00 to get there on time.

In the meantime, we are gluing ceramic tiles to thin boards prior to applying the grouting. In the next day or two we’ll glue those pieces to the walls between our kitchen counter-tops and the wall cabinets. Then, we’ll add the sealer.

We’re also painting the front porch and applying wood sealer to our side porch. We sealed the deck a couple of weeks ago.

In the next week or so, I need to contact four musical groups and arrange for them to appear at our Lutherans of Forsyth County picnic scheduled for August 15th.

In my spare time, I will put the finishing touches on my Power Point presentation to encourage our congregation to buy into the scrip program so we can begin chipping away at our mortgage and other debts.

I’m really looking forward to our old fashioned picnic. But I guess that other stuff has to be done as well.


A Random May 18, 2009

May 18, 2009

I have too many things going through my mind today to concentrate on one topic. Therefore, I’ll dump the main topics that are bouncing around in the empty spaces. Then, maybe, tomorrow I’ll be better able to focus on a single subject.

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Right now I’m listening to Perry Como sing “Hoop-Dee-Doo” on an on-line radio station that lets me choose my poison. The Radio.com is one of my favorites.

Perry has just moved aside for Teresa Brewer singing “Music, Music, Music”.

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This past weekend was busier than most. Friday night was our Relay for Life event in Forsyth County. Christ the King Lutheran Church did its best to help raise money for the American Cancer Society.

It seemed like a good idea

It seemed like a good idea

Mother Nature was very unkind to our efforts. In past years, the temperature has plummeted once the sun went down. Thus, we decided to sell hot coffee, tea, and hot chocolate to go with the sweets baked by members of our church. I don’t think the thermometer dropped below seventy-five degrees before midnight.

Even when the rains came, the temperature held steady.

This boy liked the view

This boy liked the view

The rain, however, forced us to close down our second source of income. The kids loved the slide (especially the boy in the photo who just sat there looking out over his domain until his mother climbed up and slid down with him.)

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On Saturday morning, I went to help take down our tents and return everything to storage while my bride attended a meeting for the women of our church.

I came home and mowed the lawn before the serious rains hit.

On Saturday afternoon, Lu and I drove to Dahlonega where Nostalgia entertained at the Gold City Convalescent Home. The residents knew the old time Gospel songs better than we. Thus, a good time was had by all.

Lu and I then dined with other members of the band prior to strolling through the arts and crafts fair that was being held. We also wandered through a couple of antique stores (that had air-conditioning) and came away with an old-fashioned scrub board.

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David Seville and the Chipmunks are now performing “The Witch Doctor”.

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Later on Saturday evening, Lu and I attended the play “Nunsense” at the Holly Theater in Dahlonega. It was absolutely hilarious. We highly recommend it. It will be playing for at least one more weekend.

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On Sunday our church held its first “Barefoot” Sunday as a way to collect shoes, socks, and underwear for homeless people. We’ll take an inventory this afternoon, but we had quite a pile of stuff at the end of services.

A good start

A good start

Pastor Kerry Maurer led by example.

Dan Bosse looks on approvingly

Dan Bosse looks on approvingly

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Yesterday afternoon brought the rains. So we watched television. Dan Brown must love the Discovery Channel’s program director. In the afternoon we watched a program pointing out the questionable aspects of Dan’s “The DaVinci Code”. If there is anyone left who has not read that book, their interest might have been piqued by the show.

In the evening, the Discovery Channel aired a show debunking the plot of Dan’s “Angels & Demons.” My bride has read most of Dan Brown’s novels, but I try to stick to non-fiction. I do make an exception for Mr. Brown – mainly because of the controversies surrounding his work.

My guess is he intentionally creates those controversies to sell more books. Obviously it works with me. My hat is off to his ingenuity. And the truth is that his novels are extremely well written.

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Somewhat related to the Dan Brown debunking is our friend, Don Fair, and his wonderful imagination. Dan Brown often includes a secret society called the “Illuminati” in his novels. This group supposedly is composed of extremely intelligent and powerful men who rule the world from behind the scenes.

Don Fair is creating a secret society of his own. He calls it the “Illiterate-ati”.

Don is also trying to create a new Political Party called the “Do Nothings”. He vows that if he is elected to the U.S. Senate, he will do nothing but serve enough time to qualify for his government pension.

I believe his basic principles are based on the Hippocratic oath – “First, do no harm.” He figures that if congress did nothing, we’d all be better off.

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As I listen to the Platters sing “Twilight Time” I’ll bring this to a close.


Another Whirlwind Weekend

May 16, 2009

Last evening was the Forsyth County Relay for Life to benefit the American Cancer Society. Here are some of the photos we took of the Christ the King Lutheran Church’s site.

Kids loved our slide

Kids loved our slide

Our volunteers were ready to see coffee and sweets

Our volunteers were ready to sell coffee and sweets

Cancer survivors led the way for the first lap

Cancer survivors led the way for the first lap

A four-letter word - means everything to a cancer victim

A four-letter word - means everything to a cancer victim

We won’t have a final tally of the money we raised for another week or so, but once again we’ve surpassed last year’s total.

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Later today, Nostalgia will appear at a senior citizen venue in Dahlonega. Since we’ll be in the area, Lu and I will hang around after the gig, have dinner, and then go to the Holly Theater to see “Nunsense”.

At a gig in Dawsonville

At a gig in Dawsonville

Nostalgia at a Senior Prom

Nostalgia at a Senior Prom

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By the way, today is the thrity-sixth birthday of my youngest son. Happy birthday Matthew!


Another Decision

March 6, 2009
My hippie days

My hippie days

This picture has nothing to do with my thoughts for today. I included it for anyone who wants to see what I looked like about sixty years ago.

My thoughts today center around a new decision I need to make. There’s no rush on this one, but I owe it to a lot of people – including myself – to give it some serious thought.

I attended a meeting of the Forsyth County Optimist Club yesterday morning. I was the guest of Donnie Culver. Donnie is the eternal optimist who always has a smile on his face and can usually say something to make me laugh.

For example, yesterday he explained how his wife wanted him to be more sensitive. So, when he took the garbage out, he cried.

He also mentioned that he warned his wife that if she ever decided to leave him, he was going to go with her.

Simple statements such as those are guaranteed to bring a smile to many faces.

Donnie wants me to join the Optimist Club. He also wants me to be the guest speaker at their next meeting. Thus, part of my decision making process involves deciding whether or not to accept either invitation.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a joiner. I like belonging to groups… especially those who perform some sort of service for the community. In high school I belonged to the Key Club, which was sponsored by the Kiwanis Club. We held several fund raising events each year and donated all our proceeds to various charities. We also attended annual conventions.

One year, three or four of us attended an International convention in Philadelphia. Shortly after we were told not to leave the city limits, we boarded a bus and traveled to Atlantic City. While my friends frolicked on the beach and boardwalk, I rode another bus to Somers Point and visited with my Aunts Josie and Mary.

In college, I joined an educational fraternity, Kappa Delta Phi. While most of our activities centered around kegs of beverages, we did take some time to tutor children at General McLane High School. Of course, when Dr. Luther Hendricks learned what I was doing he said something about ‘the blind leading the blind.’

Later in life I joined the Lions Club. Their main charitable activities centered on the blind. They were proud to tell how Helen Keller had challenged the group to become ‘Knights for the blind’ and the many ways they acted to serve that group of individuals. We held fund raisers and sent the money to the Leader Dog school in Rochester, Michigan, the Lighthouse for the blind – a summer camp in Pennsylvania – and a number of other similar groups. We also collected used eye glasses and sent them off to foreign lands where they could be recycled. Come to think of it, we also encouraged people to donate their eyes when they were no longer needed on this earth.

I also attended a few state and international conventions as a member of the Lions club. As I recall, no one ever told me not to leave the city limits as an adult. It wouldn’t have mattered, I would have wandered off anyway.

My west coast brother used to belong to the Rotary club. I don’t know if he is still a member or not, but I feel that I should investigate what the Rotary club does. I also need to re-examine the Kiwanis club.

Believe it or not, part of the criteria for my decision will be where these groups hold their annual conventions. My bride and I love to travel. If we can go to exotic places with a group of friends, we’d probably look forward to the opportunity… especially if they can get discounted group rates.

More importantly, I want to know how each organization raises money and what they do with it. I don’t want to belong to a group that uses the international banner to justify a social club. I’m not interested in anything other than a service club.

However, I must also be realistic. I already belong to the Christ the King Lutheran church’s Out Reach team, which is similar to the Catholic church’s St. Vincent dePaul. I’m also a board member for Thrivent, which is another Lutheran group that supports mission trips to the Gulf, Habitat for Humanity, and other worthwhile charities. In fact, Thrivent is a big supporter of God’s Global Barnyard – check out the link on the right side of the screen!

At Christ the King, we’re in the midst of raising money for the American Caner Society’s Relay for Life, and, in my spare time, I sing with Nostalgia – a band that entertains senior citizens.

I must face reality. Do I have the time to be a productive member of any service organization?

Over the years I’ve wondered about people who join service clubs, faithfully pay their dues, and never show up for meetings or service activities. Why they do that is a mystery to me. All I can figure is that they join so they have something to write in their resumes and the associations will look good in their obituaries.

St. Pat's Irish Dinner at CTK

St. Pat's Irish Dinner at CTK

For now, my decision will have to stay on the back burner. My thoughts are currently on our annual Irish dinner at Christ the King. This is one of our main fund raisers for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.

If you live in the area and would like to attend – your choice of corned beef and cabbage, or Irish stew made with lamb – contact me for ticket information. And if you don’t live in the area, but would like to make a financial contribution, I’ll be glad to hear from you as well.

In the meantime, if you’re familiar with the Lions, Rotary, Optimists, Kiwanis, or any other service club you think I should consider, please let me know.


A Sense of Belonging

March 4, 2009

I’ve mentioned in the past that I am a joiner. Perhaps that is simply because I am a ‘people’ person. I enjoy being around other humans… even if we don’t share the same political and religious beliefs. I have no problem accepting people – even if their thoughts are absolutely ridiculous – but have problems with those who have problems accepting my beliefs.

Seriously, if I find myself in total disagreement with others, I simply try to keep my thoughts to myself.

In any case, I still like to belong to various groups – especially those whose sole purpose is to benefit others. That’s why I’m proud to be a board member of our local Thrivent chapter.

For the uninitiated, Thrivent is a Lutheran organization that, in many ways, is similar to the Knights of Columbus.

The Knights were originally formed by a priest who saw his church getting into deep financial trouble trying to support the widows of the parish. He rightfully believed that an organization for men could accomplish two goals.

One, it would give the men a social outlet and keep them out of serious trouble. Two – and much more importantly – it could provide the beginnings of a financial institution that could offer life insurance to men so that their widows would not have to rely on the church for handouts.

Over the years, the Knights of Columbus has grown to be a tremendously profitable organization. However, it maintains its non-profit (and tax exempt) status by donating its profits to charity.

Thrivent is the Lutheran equivalent, with one basic exception. There are no social halls. Lutheran men must find other ways to stay out of serious trouble.

Thrivent has two types of products for sale. Risk products and investments.

Risk products are insurance policies. These would include life, accidental death, and long term disability products.

The investment products include mutual funds and annuities.

Profits from the investment products are returned to the individual investors. Last year, Thrivent was like many other financial institutions in that it didn’t have much in the way of capital gains to return to the investors. However, since it did not invest heavily in the mortgage market, its losses were far less than many other companies.

Profits from the risk products go in one of two directions. First, a certain amount must go into very safe investments and be considered a ‘surplus’ fund. Insurance claims are paid out of this surplus.

Any remaining profits are distributed among the local chapters throughout the Lutheran world. Last year, our chapter was given approximately fifteen thousand dollars to split among three churches.

With the money we received, we were able to supplement various fund-raising activities. In the end, we donated money to the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, Habitat for Humanity, Forsyth County’s “Hands Across Forsyth”, CASA, and many other worthwhile projects.

I know of very few companies that give back to the community as much as Thrivent does. Therefore, I’m adding them to my “triple A” list of good people to deal with. If you’re in the market for insurance, or looking for a place to make some investments, check out Thrivent.

Your dollars can have a double whammy effect. They can hook you up with a good insurance policy or investment, and they can help fund a number of worthwhile charities.

Feel free to click on the link to the right.

By the way, a good friend is encouraging me to join the Optimist Club. Anyone have any advice in that regard?


In Spite of Ourselves

February 12, 2009

Yesterday was an extremely windy day in North Georgia as well as many other areas of the country. As for our home, we seemed to fare very well; none of our trees were toppled and very few dead branches came down. However, that was not true for the rest of Forsyth County.

On our way home from choir practice last night, we were turned around by a police officer. Our first guess was an automobile accident at an intersection we were approaching. We later changed our minds and surmised we were rerouted around fallen trees.

When we arrived home, we would’ve never guessed there had been any foul weather. Our home was unscathed and the stars were shining as brightly as ever.

About an hour later, the effects of the storm finally caught up with us. We lost our electricity. The first time was for a minute or two. The second, for several seconds. The third for… an extended period; we went to bed before it came back on sometime in the middle of the night.

With no electricity, and no moon, it was amazingly dark in our home. At first, it was too dark to go stumbling around looking for flashlights… especially in a home that is in total disarray as our kitchen remodeling project continues.

The darkness got me to thinking about how people coped before electricity entered the home. As I understand things, the homes of our ancestors had two sources of light and heat: kerosene lamps and fireplaces. That made me wonder how they survived without smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

I can only assume their chimneys were very efficient at drawing out the smoke and fumes. We could also assume that their homes weren’t insulated and sealed as well as today’s homes.

I’ve only been around a kerosene heater once in my life – that I recall – and I remember blowing my nose and being shocked by the soot that came out. Did our ancestors find such sooty nasal emanations common place?

As is my normal mental process, these thoughts led to others… not necessarily connected in a way that others would readily understand. Of course, additional information comes into play.

There was a news report this morning that two satellites collided over Siberia yesterday. It was the first ‘major’ collision. Evidently, there is enough space junk floating around that there have already been a number of minor scrapes.

It seems we humans have a difficult time with foresight.

When I was a child growing up in Pittsburgh, the three rivers and a number of streams that emptied into those rivers were terribly polluted. We can only imagine what chemicals and other contaminants were routinely dumped into our waterways… and not just in Pittsburgh, but in cities all over the world. I wouldn’t be surprised that some people are still dumping.

Pittsburgh’s waterways have been cleaned up… although I wonder what happened to all the crap that was washed into the oceans over the centuries.

Cleaning rivers was relatively easy. Stop the dumping and let the fresh water flush out the system.

But how do we clean up the space junk?

This morning’s rant began based on wind damage. But since I’ve moved onto pollution – both on earth and in space – let me include a photo and information that demonstrates how stupid we humans have been.

Sea Urchin in Sculls Bay

Sea Urchin in Sculls Bay

The boat in the photo belonged to my Uncle Lewis – the namesake for two of my brothers. He had it docked in Sculls Bay near Margate, New Jersey. For a number of years, that boat served as our summer vacation cottage.

There was a head on that boat. For the landlubbers, that means it had a toilet. The toilet was flushed using a pump. The ‘waste’ matter was simply pumped out of the boat and into the bay.

And nobody thought anything of it.

I guess we humans learn through trial and error. We do things until we see the problems caused by the by-products of our actions. Then we have to find a way to clean up the mess.

Gee! That sounds like our government’s stimulus package!