Sneakers for students
October 16, 2023 / By Tim Rock, Harkness United Methodist Church
Harkness United Methodist Church turned meals into sneakers through the Michigans for Mission project.
It all started in 2016 as a fundraiser to support the mission of the church. The Michigan hot dog is a North Country favorite and is a popular meal at the many restaurants around our tri-county area. Seven years ago, we offered the option of dine-in or take-out. All the money raised from selling hot dogs helped pay ministry shares and other mission obligations.
The fundraiser was an instant success, drawing people from all over to our little county church. Twice a year, in the months of May and August, we hold our fundraiser.
The COVID-19 pandemic forced us to do things a little bit differently with this popular meal. We still wanted to do something to serve our community, but could no longer offer the meal as a dine-in option. The church decided to have a free meal giveaway as a take-out option to anyone who wanted one. While not a fundraiser, it was a good way to give back to our community.
In the post-pandemic, we were looking for ways to reach out with our Missions through Michigan meal fundraiser. A decision was made by the leadership team to use all the money raised from the sale for a specific mission and not deduct the cost of supplies.
We asked the congregation for suggestions, and in May of 2023, we decided to donate to Marion Medical Mission. This specific project provides wells with clean drinking water for villages in Africa. That year, we were able to fund six wells in Africa with all the money raised! We also received a generous matching donation from an anonymous donor.
This past August, the congregation decided to spend the money specifically on school children ranging in grades from elementary to high school. We wanted students to have proper footwear for school. Our goal was to purchase high quality, name brand sneakers to distribute to the local schools and economic aid office in our community.
With the money raised and the extremely generous discount provided by Lenny’s Shoe and Apparel in Plattsburgh, we were able to purchase 59 pairs of excellent sneakers that ranged in brands, sizes, styles, and colors. Before the sneakers were delivered to the chosen locations, the Harkness UMC congregation blessed the pile of sneakers.
We plan to continue this bi-annual fundraiser in 2024 with a mission focus to be determined prior to the event. We feel truly blessed to be able to make these donations locally and globally with such an active and generous congregation and community.