St. Stephen’s ‘fills an ark’ for Lent in Glenwood Springs
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado — Students and parishioners at St. Stephen’s School and Church are helping to feed and sustain the livelihoods of farmers in developing countries, two-by-two.
Each Lenten season, the church partners with the school on a mission project to help the hungry of the world in some way, said Father Cliff McMillan.
In the past, they’ve raised money through organizations like Operation Rice Bowl.
“This year, we thought we’d do something a little different, so we chose the ark project,” McMillan said.
“Fill the Ark” is the largest fund-raising project sponsored by Heifer International, an organization that works to assist families in poor, rural areas by providing farm animals.
Beyond that, the program teaches the families how to raise livestock so that they can start to make a living.
The four-week project challenges churches, schools and other organizations to raise $5,000, which goes to buy an entire “ark” full of animals.
Most of the animals are sent in pairs, in keeping with the Biblical story of Noah and his Ark, where Noah is commanded by God to build a large boat in preparation of the great flood and to gather up a male and female of each species to repopulate the planet.
Some of the animals come in threes, and in the case of chickens and other birds, in full flocks, McMillan explained.
Together, the Glenwood Springs-based school and church ended up raising almost $7,000, including more than $2,600 that came through various fundraisers sponsored by St. Stephen’s students.
It turned out to be a great learning opportunity for the students as well.
“It’s better than sending money, because this way if they have a cow that can produce milk, then they can sell the milk for money,” said Alicia Lowe, a second-grade student in Laura Carter’s class.
Added classmate Max Donovan, “It’s good because sometimes they don’t have enough animals, so they’re poor.” The ark project “helps them learn how to raise animals, so they can have money,” Donovan said.
The different classes at the school also competed with each other to raise the most money so that they could win prizes.
Coming in first was the sixth-grade class, which raised $287. The kindergarten class raised $283, and the fifth-grade class was third, raising $162. One of the school’s families also contributed a matching donation of $1,310.
“This is a fun way to raise money, because the kids love animals,” Carter said. “Especially for our kids who live in rural settings, they have animals and understand the value of that.”
Father McMillan said the Glenwood Springs Beauty Academy also participated by having a change jar on the counter. He said he would like to participate in the Fill the Ark project again next Lenten season, and invite other businesses and the larger community to participate.
The additional money raised this year beyond the $5,000 needed for an “ark” will be used to buy extra animals through Heifer International’s many smaller programs, McMillan said.
For more about Heifer International and its various fundraising opportunities, visit http://www.heifer.org.
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