Church shares fruits of its labor with community
By RACHAEL GRAY
It was a good year for fundraising for First Christian Church in Garden City. And the result is a nice lift for some local charities.
The church's annual Navajo Taco Dinner, held in February, raised $34,000. On Friday afternoon, church representatives delivered that money to local charities.
Their first stop was at Russell Childhood Development Center, 714 Ballinger St., to drop off a check for $11,000.
Jill Reagle, tiny-k coordinator at RCDC, was shocked at the amount donated.
"Words can't express our gratitude that we feel. Thanks for all that you do," she said.
Proceeds from the dinner were up $10,000 from last year's $24,000, said Pastor Scott Shirley.
"We like to share, especially when it's a good year. When we increase our funds, we like to increase yours," he said.
Traveling in a church van, the pastor and church representatives stopped at Emmaus House, 802 N. Fifth St., next and delivered a $2,500 check.
Robin Marsh, executive director of Emmaus House, expressed gratitude for the check, which will be spent on purchasing food for the home.
"Thank you guys so very much," she said.
Gale Frank, a church leader and congregation member, said the church members were happy to pass on good cheer to charities.
"Our goal is to share the check and share the good day," Frank said.
The third stop for the congregation members and volunteers was ABC Pregnancy Center, 509 N. Sixth Street, to drop off a check for $3,000.
The church donated $7,000 to Family Crisis Center, at the corner of Main and Fulton streets.
Frank said the church wanted the money to go toward the center's battered women's shelter.
Janene Radke, director, thanked the members for their donation.
"It will go towards making the shelter a better place for survivors," she said.
At Miles of Smiles, 901 W. Maple St., the congregation members toured the horse pens and got to meet Charlie, a shetland pony, and Magic, a miniature horse.
Sara Brown, executive director, accepted a check from the church for $2,000. She said it will be used on feed for the horses.
Checks also were given to CASA Spirit of the Plains, 603 N. Eighth St., for $2,000; City on a Hill, 116 E. Chestnut St., for $500; Habitat for Humanity, 405 N. Sixth St., for $1,000; Relay for Life, for $2,000 and Seeds of Hope, 603 N. Eighth St. for $1,000.
Bridget Rhoades, church secretary, said the church fed more than 1,500 people at February's dinner, had 1,740 balls of dough, used 503 pounds of meat, 250 pounds of flour, had 267 homemade pies, three hand-sewn quilts and one nativity set made from olive trees by Christians in Bethlehem. The nativity set brought in $4,000. More than 40 volunteers helped with the dinner.
Shirley said the success of the church's fundraising makes congregation members want to set the bar even higher.
"The big thing for us today is we see the benefits of our labor. A lot of times people can't see the rewards of their hard work. In just a weekend, we raised this amount of money. It just encourages us to do more," he said.
In 2000, the church held its first taco dinner, with a meal that has consistently stayed true to its tradition: a piece of fried Navajo bread the size of a plate, topped with a hamburger-bean mixture, grated cheese, lettuce, onion and tomatoes, with a slice of pie on the side.