Together we sat on a Tuesday afternoon, the six of us around my table, the kids plunging into their lunches, my mother and I attempting a conversation over a cup of coffee despite the raucous nature of the kitchen, the sundry questions and quips spilling out of the mouths of my babes. Above the din, her words were not lost to my ears: A family, whose two young boys attend programs at Christian Friendliness, the organization whose food pantry my father oversaw for twenty-five years, lost everything they owned in a house fire the previous Friday.
Like any of us living at this time, a time in which images of horrific tragedies are ubiquitous, I was tempted by the demon of desensitization to not let my heart be broken just a little bit; to whisper a prayer of thanks that it was not my home, my possessions, my clothes, shoes, coats, my precious memories extinguished and left as ashes on the earth; to dismiss the suffering of this family by allowing their heartache to exist merely as casual conversation. I was unclear why my mother even mentioned the Rice family to me, this family I do not know, that I don't have any personal connection to, but she did and because she chose to tell me, something within told me to listen.
Thanks to the graciousness and generosity of my husband, our friends Doug and Kim, as well as Fr. Jon and the people of Assumption Orthodox Church and Fr. Chris and the people of St. George Orthodox Church, a trivia night fundraiser for the Rice family is tentatively scheduled for Friday, April 20th at Assumption in East Moline. And I, one harried, homeschooling homemaker who has no credentials and really no business making any sort of appeal, especially through a medium so impersonal, am going to dare to ask for your help in this public way. You see if I have gleaned anything over the course of my life, it is that people usually want to come alongside and assist those in need but often don't know how, and that often people you don't even know reach out in amazing ways when asked.
And so, forgive me, my faceless audience, but here is my appeal:
- We need sponsors willing to cover the costs of the event, allowing the Rice family to receive 100% of the proceeds
- We need people willing to put on their aprons and bake items to be sold that evening
- We need people to help us at the actual event: setting up, manning tables, collecting answer sheets, adding up points
- We need you to come, call your friends, gather a team, and be present with us
- We need you to spread the word
- We need you to pray for this family
PS - Please feel free to contact me at email@example.com if you have any questions. If you're interested in sponsoring the event, we expect about $500 in expenses and already have $150 raised.