One summer my 9-year old daughter Joy and her friend developed a plan to earn some extra money. They dug up some of the rich soil in our back yard, added a little water to form a gooey clay and shaped it into dishes and bowls of various sizes. These they baked in my oven until dry and hard and then peddled the wares to our neighbors on the missionary compound in Taejon. Their homemade pottery was surprisingly durable. The coin dish I bought for my dresser lasted almost a decade before crumbling apart.
For missionary families overseas, fundraising becomes a normal part of life. Joy and her pilot husband are now on their way to Indonesia with Missionary Aviation Fellowship. They scrapped her pottery idea and, instead, raised support by speaking in churches and sending out letters to potential donors.
When my husband and I returned to the States after 24 years in Asia, I thought I was finished with fundraising for good. Ha! The joke was on me.
In my role as Senior Center director, I spend more time scrambling for money than almost anything else.
Nutritional support for seniors living on low, fixed incomes is a major focus of our center programming. Last year we served 9,296 hot meals. To make the food available to people who have trouble affording it, we absorb the financial burden of buying and preparation and end up losing about $1.26 on every $3 meal we serve. We are happy to meet that need for our senior adults, but costs add up.
In 2012 the center had a combined attendance of 6,164 people at all our events, which included computer, writing, flower-arranging and oil-painting classes, exercise groups, parties, dances, games, field trips, health fairs and screenings and more. Most of these programs were offered free of charge to our seniors. That’s what we’re here for, after all. Unfortunately, we can’t avoid the price tags embedded in these activities.
By no means do I wish to imply that we begrudge our participants their enjoyment of our programs. Our purpose is not to make money, but to enhance the lives of our county’s senior adults. My only point here is to explain the perpetual need for fundraising.
We are continually asking our community for donations of every kind – money, prizes, food, supplies, and services. It takes all those things to keep us running.
If you would like to help Mineral Wells Senior Center this year, here are a few suggestions. Consider sponsoring some meals at $3 each for seniors on low, fixed incomes. We would be grateful for donations of letter or postcard stamps, or copy paper of any color. Printer ink is a big expense for us, as are center-pull paper towels, toilet tissue and cleaning supplies for our restrooms. Sturdy, disposable forks, spoons and bowls would be great for our free movie-night suppers. We go through lots of sugar, creamers and sweeteners for coffee and tea every day. And we always need prizes like $5 gifts cards for parties and dances.
Right now we’re accepting donations for our annual Gigantic Garage Sale that will be held in the Ft. Wolters activity building Friday-Saturday, March 8 and 9. For a $10 donation you can shop the Early-Bird sale at 5:30 p.m., on Thursday, March 7.
We also need people to supply breakfast and lunch for the sheriff’s trustees who will be helping us set up the garage sale from Monday through Wednesday of that week, March 4-6. If you or your church, club or civic group would be willing to provide drinks, snacks or meals for the trustees and senior volunteers that week, please give us a call at (940) 325-6470 for more details.
Fundraising is a dominating proposition for anyone, even a seasoned former missionary. That’s why I am grateful for a community that rallies to support us in so many ways. With your help, I’m looking forward to a year filled with growth, health, fellowship and fun at the Senior Center.