“What do you want for your birthday?”
Alice McLean was about to turn 11, and during the Sunday morning worship service at Stittsville United Church her minister asked her that simple question.
Her response was not what most of the people in the church expected to hear: “I want donations to help the school children in Nicaragua.”
Alice had heard that five teenagers and five adults from her church were raising money to go to Nicaragua in August and work with the organization SchoolBOX from Almonte to help build a school for children in a poor barrio, and Alice wanted to help.
A few days later when Alice had her birthday party, people brought their donations and Alice raised $400 to buy school supplies for children in Nicaragua. She presented her donation to Rev. Grant Dillenbeck and church treasurer, Don Carson during worship on Sunday August 14.
“Alice’s generosity and passion to help the children in Nicaragua has been an inspiration to us all,” says Rev. Dillenbeck.
Alice has also been collecting a few school supplies for the group to take to Nicaragua, but with limited luggage space, donations of money to buy school supplies in Nicaragua are especially helpful.
Nicaragua is considered to be the second poorest country in the western hemisphere and the group of ten from Stittsville United will be helping SchoolBOX construct a school in the city of Masaya, about 25 km southeast of the capital of Managua.
They have been raising funds for several months through serving brunch following worship services at their church, holding bottle drives, selling fair trade Nicaraguan coffee, selling silk scarves which they and members of the congregation have coloured by hand, as well as receiving support from the United Church of Canada, and donations from members of the congregation and community.
The total cost of the trip for travel, accommodation and construction supplies will be about $3,300 per person, or $33,000 in total and with about half of the funds being required in American dollars, the present exchange rate has added to their expenses.
At the present time the group is about $5,000 short of their fundraising goal and they continue encourage people to make donations to support their efforts.
“With generous people like Alice, we are confident that we will reach our goal,” says Rev. Dillenbeck.
If you would like to support them, please make cheques payable to Stittsville United Church and send them to Stittsville United Church, 6255 Fernbank Rd., Stittsville, ON K2S 0S2 indicating that the donation is for the Nicaragua Fund. A tax receipt will be issued for donations of $10 or more.