Everyone is feeling the pinch in these difficult economic times so it often takes an enterprising and imaginative spirit to keep from slipping into the financial red. My little 200 year old church on the hill, with its dwindling congregation, is no exception.
We are constantly struggling to raise enough money to meet our operating costs and fund outreach programs like supporting the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen, missionary work and disaster relief. But as the expression states, when times get tough, the tough get going. And the 'tough' in this instance were the ladies of our Serendipity Circle.
Spurred on by high hopes and good will these ladies organized our first ever (annual?) pasta dinner and live auction. Every church member was encouraged to donate a service or item for bidding. The idea behind the service is that each of us has unique talents and skills that we can share with others. For some this was 15 hours of yard or house work while for others it was 8 hours of handyman work (plumbing, electrical work, painting, etc). A lawyer offered to prepare two wills, someone donated a cord or half cord of fire wood and a family donated their time share property.
I was 'voluntold' to offer to teach a class in American Sign Language. I figured I could teach four one to one tutoring sessions in my home and possibly raise as much as $200 for the church. As the event neared I was approached by several people expressing interest in the lessons. My 'item' was going to be part of the live auction (there were 76 items in the silent auction, 14 in the live) and I was beginning to wonder how the bidding would go.
The pasta dinner/auction took place this past Saturday and the ASL lessons were the hot ticket. It turns out that six people were interested. So, instead of asking them all to continue to place individual bids I was asked if I would consider teaching a class so everyone could participate. I said 'okay' and the bidding closed. Each person agreed to pay $110 each which brought in $660! Pretty cool.
In total, the pasta dinner/auction brought in about $8,500. It exceeded our expectations and was a wonderful evening of fellowship. Now if I could just figure out a way to make some extra money for myself. Anyone interested in learning sign language?