It started on Christmas day, Charli Riggle and I spoke on the phone and she told me I had to set up a Gofundme campaign in conjunction with the Facebook Lenten Almsgiving group. She was going to announce the next day that during the 12 Days of Christmas there was going to be a drive to save our house from foreclosure. This was crazy talk. Our little group had never generated anywhere near that amount of money. She was the third woman to tell me this. I have a wife and four daughters and that is about how many women it usually takes before something sinks in; so I did it. I set the goal at $15,000 which is what I estimated to be what would be needed to bring the account current by the time we raised the funds, along with the late fees. It did not allow for any funds going forward or any strange fees the mortgage company might choose to tack on. In other words, I was being my usual optimistic self. Even so, it was an outrageous amount for our little group of poor almsgivers.
In the first week, we raised over $6,000 as far as the public was aware of. There was a totally anonymous donation of $9,000 that had actually put us over the top. The donor told me to wait to add that to the public total until after we had reached the total otherwise. I did add $400 and then $600 of it in when donations were slowing down, just to liven things up a bit and improve our rank on the Gofundme site. The first Inquirer article hit on Jan. 6. By the end of the day, our online total had surpassed our goal of $15,000! Then I added in the remaining $8,000. For the next several days donations kept coming in from all over the world. Bethann & I were almost full-time writing thank you notes. Jan. 8, the second Inquirer article came out. Gofundme also featured our story in an email to their supporters. We received over $5,000 during the day from complete strangers, then got up the next morning to discover that we had received more than $1,000 from Australia! By the 16th, we had raised over $40,000 and had arranged to pay to reinstate the mortgage, as well as eliminate other outstanding debts. We also were able to help a neighbor from losing his home and help a few other folks along the way, leaving enough in The King’s Jubilee’s account to fund the ministry, including a secure base at our house, for the next year.
On the 17th, the Intelligencer did a feature article about us. On the 28th, the Huffington Post chose me as one of eighteen people who the President should have invited to attend the State of the Union Address, referencing the first Inquirer article and the Gofundme site. Today, the local paper, the Souderton Independent used the whole front page of its Living section with an article about us, with huge color pictures.
We have had more positive press in one month than in the rest of the 25 years prior. It is an interesting dynamic with the people on the street. They read the papers. Several of them congratulated or blessed me on Thursday night for the success of the fundraising campaign. One fellow, who seemed intensely shy, took time to speak with me, to tell me how pleased he was that we had been blessed in this way. Some of the guys wanted me to tell all of you “Thank You” for your support of The King’s Jubilee, because we serve the best meal of the week. I’m just passing it on. This is your ministry. We could not do it without all of you supporting it. I just get to give away other people’s stuff. God bless you!