Friends forgo Christmas tradition to help Comfrey farmers

This article submitted by Linda Stelling on 12/22/98.

(Editorís note: This holiday story was brought to the Press and we agreed to abide by their wishes to remain anomymous.)

A group of friends gave up holiday tradition to provide a little help for tornado stricken farmers near Comfrey this holiday season.

Their holiday giving started at Thanksgiving when a Bible study group at a local church took their lesson to heart. The group was studying Luke and the story of the banquet feast. The story states Jesus told a farmer he shouldnít invite those who would expect an invitation back but to invite the poor and not to expect a thank you.

One person in the group contacted a farmer she knew in the Comfrey area who had been hit by the tornado. She explained what the Bible study group wanted to do and asked if ďDavidĒ could provide them with names of 10 farm families needing a Thanksgiving blessing.

The Bible study group sent each farm family $32 and signed the card: A congregation with heart for farm families.

David notified the Bible study group that their gifts were appreciated and the farm families were curious where the money had come from.

As Christmas neared, another group (holiday diners) within the congregation heard about the Thanksgiving gift to Comfrey. The men in the diners group thought it would be wonderful to take their holiday money and help somebody else.

Over coffee one evening, it was decided that instead of spending their usual $20 per couple for a Christmas party, the money should go to help somebody. The holiday diners knew the money wouldnít be a staggering amount, but it would have an uplifting effect on Comfrey farm families going through rough times. Many of the families had lost everything in the tornado and were trying to pull their lives back together, a spokesperson for the holiday diners said.

Their wives thought the idea was wonderful. The holiday diners cancelled their traditional Christmas outing and gathered together in one of their homes for a potluck on Dec. 17. A basket was placed in the center of the table to collect the donations for Comfrey. The holiday diners sang their traditional holiday songs, played games, told stories and jokes. During the evening, the holiday diners received a history on each of the Comfrey farm families they were helping. The families had lost everything during the tornado. Blankets were found in trees, farm animals, pets, and clothing were gone as were their Christmas decorations. One family with small children had hopes of moving into their new home before Christmas, but that wasnít possible.

At the end of the evening, the holiday diners counted what was in the basket and found $500 had been donated. The holiday diners also had a treasury account from which they purchased treats for Sunday school children. It was decided to add what was left in that account, putting their donation up to $750. (They still had $9 left in their account for next yearís activities).

Locally, sacrifices were made to enable the Comfrey farmers to receive a larger amount. One family omitted their $20 gift to their children for CDs. The kids made the choice to donate the money in order to help others who had nothing. A spokesperson for the holiday diners said the message was loud and clear. It was difficult to celebrate receiving gifts when others had nothing. Another grandmother among the holiday diners decided to purchase smaller gifts for her children and grandchildren, taking $5 off what she would normally spend and donate it to the Comfrey families.

On Friday, Dec. 18, when all the money was counted again and ready to go to the bank, the treasurer of the holiday diners found the total donations amounted to $1,000. This allowed them to send each family a $100 bill from their anonymous donors.



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