Good Shepherd children raise boatload of money for ark project |

Good Shepherd children raise boatload of money for ark project

The children from Good Shepherd Lutheran Church Sunday School recently reached their $5,000 fund-raising goal to buy livestock for poor families in the United States and abroad.

“Their efforts will initially help change the lives of 30 families, who will then pass along their animals’ offspring to other families,” said project spokesperson Kinga Fauser. “The ripple effect will mean that these little children from western Colorado have changed the lives of innumerable people through their hard work and dedication to a cause which they chose and followed through on.”

The livestock will be distributed through the Arkansas-based Heifer International Gift Ark program.

“This is the first year that the Sunday School endeavored to raise $5,000 for a whole gift Ark,” said Fauser. “Prior to this, we have raised smaller sums to purchase individual Heifer gift animals for families in need.”

An entire ark includes 15 different paired animals that 30 families will use for food and income, according to Heifer International’s website.

The menagerie includes water buffalo, oxen, llamas, goats, sheep, pigs, rabbits, chickens, geese and even bees.

The bees can be used to produce honey for extra income, while the oxen are used for plowing and pulling carts, and sheep for their wool. Heifer International also provides training for care of the animals.

One project, in Wolcott, Vt., brought in dairy goats, sheep and cows. Several poor farm families used the livestock to produce cheese, which was sold. Wool was used for sweaters that were sold at outdoor markets around the state.

“One of the project’s goals was to increase farm incomes by 20 percent by marketing farm goods to the existing health-conscious consumer base in the area,” said Wolcott project organizer Lorraine Vissering.

Fund-raising for the Gift Ark Project started in September, and the church wrapped things up on Palm Sunday.

Fund-raisers included a bake sale and chocolate sale, a Walk-A-Thon and more. Some children donated their hot lunch money and took sack lunches to school. Church members were also given small plastic ark piggy banks that they filled and returned.

An out-of-state family donated $250 in memory of a deceased aunt, after being contacted by a niece and nephew who are involved with Good Shepherd Church.

Aside from helping poor families around the world, the Gift Ark program is also helping local kids who are taking part.

“We want the children to look outward with their faith, not just inward, as in `What can the church of God do for me?'” Fauser explained. “We hope that they will be aware of others’ needs, and consequently feel capable of helping others.”

Through the six-month fund-raising project the children, who ranged from 3 to 12 years old, also watched movies explaining where the animals will go and who they will benefit.

Since 1944, Heifer Project International has helped more than 4 million struggling families in the United States and 118 other countries move toward self-reliance through gifts of food- and income-producing animals.

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