The Easterner

Fundraising with a sweet side

The Emmanuel Lutheran Church hosted their annual fundraiser, complete with a chocolate theme

Ivone Garza for The Easterner

Ivone Garza for The Easterner

Ivone Garza for The Easterner

By Logan Stanley, Staff Reporter

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For the past eight years, the Emmanuel Lutheran Church (ELC) in Cheney, has hosted a Festival of Chocolate.

The festival is designed with the intent of raising money to help send young children to a weeklong summer vacation Bible school at the ELC.

The money is collected through two options; a simple monetary donation or a raffle with prizes of a “Get Fit” bag and a quilt made by the congregation.

Lenore LamBeau, ELC Christian Education and Bible School coordinator, said the event is vital to help sustaining the summer Bible school because of the costs.

“We contract with Lutherhaven, they send of us a team of three or four depending on how many kids we expect to be here,” said LamBeau. “So, that’s quite a lot money because you know, they are paying those young people a salary for a summer job.

“We feel that’s such a benefit that we are willing to pay over a $1,000 to have them come and do it. So we need to do a fundraisers to get them money, and this is our primary one for that particular project,” LamBeau said.

LamBeau said the exact cost of the school comes out to $1,300, and the final night’s tally for money raised was $437.21. In all, more than 20 people donated to the cause.

The Bible school is a weeklong program in which youth coordinators are tasked with events such as teaching, crafts and music sessions with a group of young children. While the children’s parents are free to donate any amount of money, there is no required cost for the Bible school.

For parents like Tom Crick, whose 10-year-old foster child will attend the school, the Bible school is of special importance.

“I think it’s an opportunity,” said Crick. “You know we’ve had foster kids for a long time, and so having them tie into the community itself, the congregation, the church, it gives them a bit of grounding.”

Crick also said he hasn’t heard of anyone who attended the Bible school say they did not enjoy it. Parents value the school as well, with LamBeau mentioning the satisfaction she sees in those who choose to send their child in the summer to ELC.

As for the festival itself, those who attended were given an array of chocolate assortments to choose from. From fudge nut bars with pecans to peanut butter blossoms to fudge to chocolate chili, the selection was vast and diverse. Sweet and savory choices were abundant.

Tables were spread out across the ELC, with a Mardi Gras theme decorating the interior. In between eating and conversing, individuals could participate in craft making. The room remained full for almost the entire duration of the festival.

Looking ahead to next year, LamBeau said the hope is to put on the event again, just as they have for the past eight years.

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Fundraising with a sweet side