Two years ago, my kids and I made Christmas cookies, the cut-out kind you ice and decorate. We wanted to sell them at the end of our driveway like a lemonade stand. It seemed funny to make money for ourselves at this time of year, so we decided to make it donation only and try to raise $20 to buy a brood of chicks for a family in a third world county through the Heifer Foundation. We set up a beautiful table, gathered some loud, attention-gathering instruments and made a huge sign that said, “donation only”. We brought the Heifer magazine out with us to show each customer why we were jumping up and down at the end of our driveway on this gray and chilly December day.
In 45 minutes, we raised $26 dollars! Some people who stopped took a few cookies, others took none. They donated anywhere from 50 cents to $5. One car holding two teenage boys actually circled back 20 minutes after their initial stop to give us more money and see if we had met our goal.
It was so rewarding that, in November of 2013, my kids and I looked through the Heifer catalog to see what we wanted to aim for that year. It was unanimous; we wanted to give a family a goat, which would cost $120. I cut out the page and taped it to the wall near our kitchen counter. We all started visualizing that we would raise the money, no problem. I’ve learned that kids can do this easily with just a little practice. As the date got closer, I reminded them to let our vision go to God to bring forth the Highest and Best for all. This allowed us to release our “agenda” and put it in God’s hands
When my friend Cindy heard our plans, she said that she and her two nephews would love to join us. “You know, they’re forecasting rain on Saturday,” Cindy said. I rarely look ahead at the weather, preferring to go day by day. “Well,” I answered, “let’s join together in seeing it clear. And, if we have to stand out with golf umbrellas it will simply show our determination to get this goat!”
We laughed and committed to visualizing a clear day. (Notice I did not say we visualized no rain. If we focus on “no” and “rain” we are still envisioning what we don’t want!)
We set a date and invited additional friends to join us. We made about 4 dozen cookies and placed them neatly on plates. Our set-up consisted of a child-sized card table covered with a holiday table cloth, a few chairs, some instruments, signs, the picture of the goat from the Heifer catalog and eight kids ages 5-60.
We started at 11:00 AM and planned to rally until 2:00 PM. A few kids put in some of their own money to get things started. As we heard or saw cars round the corner, we started jumping and screaming, “Cookies for goats”, “Donations only” and whatever else came out. Many people smiled or waved, others continued on—focusing on their phone calls. A good number of people stopped to see what we were doing. We had cars, trucks, vans, a pizza guy, walkers, and cyclists stop. We started off strong and had about $50 donated in the first hour. It was amazingly exhilarating. We were almost halfway there already! We took no breaks, eating lunch right there on the driveway and running in to the bathroom as needed.
There were a few lulls in traffic flow and the giving slowed as a result. We adjusted our marketing plan, sent out some texts to friends and neighbors, and decided to move an easel slightly down the road to get attention earlier. Equally important, we joined again in visioning this goal of $120 and imagined helping to change a family’s life by giving them a goat.
Another surge of donations came in, and we were getting closer and closer to our goal. At about 1:30, Steve, the neighbor two doors down, came home. My daughter and I went over to tell him what we were doing. He was so moved, he pulled out a $20 bill and handed it to Tessa. Her face lit up as if she just received the only Christmas gift she was asking for. I started jumping up and down. I told him that we only had about $7 to go. He instantly opened his wallet and pulled out $7 more, saying that we had made his day. We had met our goal with time to spare!
We were all so excited. Rather than stopping here, the momentum just continued to build. We had 30 minutes left and were prepared to try to get one or even two sets of chicks if possible. Chicks could also change a family’s life by providing food and even a small business via selling eggs.
When it was all said and done, we raised $194 dollars that day. Our family put in the last $6 to make it an even $200. We were able to get a goat and four sets of chicks. Not only were we able to help a few families, all involved in the adventure experienced the power of joining in on a greater vision and releasing our agenda to what is highest and best for all.
This year, we are going for a water buffalo!!!