By Rev. Patrick Broz, special contributor
Members of the Kingman United Methodist Church converged on the Kingman Lanes bowling alley Oct. 26 for an event called Strike out Malaria. Kingman Lanes donated five lanes, two with bumpers, to the church to use for four hours to raise money for Imagine No Malaria.
Twenty-seven bowlers laced up shoes and threw bowling balls down the lanes. Several of the bowlers were able to receive sponsorships from neighbors, co-workers, church members and friends to increase the amount of money raised for Imagine No Malaria. Pledges were given for the number of pins dropped, number of spares and number of strikes.
“We might have raised even more money if we’d taken pledges for gutter balls,” joked Eileen Hawkins, chairperson of the Missions and Disaster Team that organized the event.
|Members of Kingman UMC gather for an Imagine No Malaria fundraising event, Strike out Malaria, at the local bowling alley. (courtesy photo)|
Team members blanketed area businesses with fliers for their windows during the last two weeks before the event. The local newspaper ran an article about the event, and the church purchased an ad the week before the event.
The Sunday before the event was devoted to the cause of fighting malaria. Rev. Ashlee Alley, Southwestern College campus minister, came and delivered a heart-stirring message of how important this effort is to changing the continent of Africa.
The fundraising effort took a dramatic turn as the church was broken into on the Friday before the event. Cash that had been given to be used for the Strike out Malaria was stolen from the office.
Although the thieves may have stolen some life-saving money, they were not going to steal the congregation’s enthusiasm. Within hours of the news of the break-in spreading, an anonymous donor dropped off a check at the church that more than made up for what was lost.
It’s that same spirit of generosity that helped the event raise $1,825 for Imagine No Malaria.
In addition to the bowling event, the children’s Sunday-school classes made pipe cleaner mosquitoes from the instructions on the Imagine No Malaria website. They were placed on a net in the church’s entryway. For a $10 donation, people could buy a mosquito. The idea was to “swat away” all the mosquitos before the Strike out Malaria event.
The bowling event came about from a brainstorming session of the Missions and Disaster Team. The team didn’t feel like a free-throw contest would go over well, and the only place in town to play pool wasn’t a place where they felt they could hold an event like this one. One member of the team suggested bowling.
“We thought about it and thought about it,” Hawkins said. “We couldn’t come up with a negative to having it, except that it had been years since many of us have bowled. Perhaps next year we can have a Wii bowling event for those unable to bowl due to physical ailments.”
The fundraising effort isn’t finished yet, though. Throughout Advent, the church will be selling $10 Imagine No Malaria “gift certificates” for stocking stuffers and Christmas gifts. What could be a better gift than having $10 go toward transforming the African continent? In addition, the entire Christmas Eve offering will go toward Imagine No Malaria.
Rev. Patrick Broz is the pastor at Kingman UMC.