How 50 Cents Became $890

February 04, 2020 | Education | Amanda Rich Nawara

Last school year my class had the pleasure of meeting a neighbor of the school (Central Valley Christian School) named Bob. We knocked on his door inviting him to our Fall Festival and wishing him a happy fall with a mini pumpkin and a postcard about our school. Little did we know that a 50-cent pumpkin would turn into a $890 service project. (Previously written about in a Gleaner article titled, “The Field Trip That Just Kept Giving”).

For those of you that are unaware of our story, let me catch you up. That fall day in 2018, when we knocked on Bob’s door, he told the two students he would be unable to attend their Fall Festival but wanted to know if they would like $20 toward the cause.

A thank you note was sent to Bob, and he sent a thank you card and $100 back to the students. The students spent it buying Christmas presents for some kids they met during a Pathfinder outreach. Then $100 came for the parents of that family. A 50-cent pumpkin had produced $220 of blessings.

Fast forward to the spring of 2019, and the students were back in the neighborhood spreading May Day cheer with flowers. Bob gave the students at his door $100. The students spent that on a shopping spree at Dollar Tree buying items for foster care welcome boxes. (And let me tell you, taking 12 kids into the Dollar Tree with $100 is quite fun!) Now $320 had been spent in serving the community.

Now let’s jump to the fall of 2019. The class was back in the Tangent, Oregon, neighborhoods handing out pumpkins and invitations to their Fall Festival once again. We can no longer send only two students to Bob's; we all must go. As we all gathered around, the students knocked and anxiously awaited an answer. Bob opened the door, and the smile that spread across his face is one I will never forget. The students cried out, “BOOOBBB!” To which he replied, “My kids!!” They handed Bob his mini pumpkin and wished him a happy fall, but Bob stepped aside and retrieved something for the students: another $100 bill. Ecstatically the students called out their thanks and scattered back into their pairs to keep visiting the other houses.

Until then, I had never actually met Bob. So Bob and I talked.

He immediately said, “I know who you are from the picture you gave me last year.” (We had sent Bob a copy of our Gleaner article about him with our names all signed around our story about how he has touched our class. Bob said every time he thinks of our story, he gets teary. I admitted so do I.

As we parted ways I mentioned we’d be back at Christmastime, and Bob said he planned to be there to greet us but did not promise to have another $100. But to us that didn’t even matter.

The $100 we received this fall was spent in the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) gift catalog. Processing with the students how far their $100 could go was amazing. One student even placed her head in her hands, holding back tears, saying, “I can’t believe we just did that! We just helped so many people. I just can’t believe we got to do that.”

Bob had by then enabled us to spend $420 on four different projects!

Wherever I go, when people ask me about my school year, I am always quick to share this story of our neighbor Bob. One weekend when visiting my childhood stomping grounds, I shared the story and a friend quickly handed me $100 for the students to buy more items from the ADRA catalog. $520.

Our school traveled to one of our constituent churches to put on the church service this December. After sharing the story of Bob, a graduate student donated $100 he had been saving for himself from his tutoring job, and another church member handed us money too. These donations went toward providing Christmas presents for an 8-year-old boy who recently lost his dad. The students went on an Amazon shopping spree in class, picking out the presents they thought he would like best. The total was up to $640.

The students headed back into the neighborhood spreading Christmas cheer and invitations to their Christmas Program. First stop: Bob’s house. While posing for a selfie on his porch because we thought he wasn’t home, the door opened and the students yelled, “Bob!” They tell him about the most recent $100 donation and how they spent it. Lo and behold, after receiving his candy and Christmas card from the students, Bob pulled out another $100. $740.

I once again thanked Bob for the impact he is having on my life and the lives of my students. His reply: “How high do you think we can go?” with a big grin on his face.

Another donation, given to my church, was designated to “do good” with. The board voted, and the money went into the newly named “Bob Fund." $840. Continuing to tell the story and say thank you, we received another $50 donation. Current total: $890.

Bob has been the biggest blessing to our class — a living testament to the kids about how much good you can do if you are willing to give. I don’t keep telling this story to keep getting people to donate. I keep telling this story because I am being blown away by the way God has moved in our community. By the way He is moving in my students and by continually teaching us that it doesn’t take much to brighten someone’s day and show them Jesus through our smiles.

Every time we receive money we never know quite where we are going to spend it. However, we never have to wait long. God continues to place opportunities in our path. Oh the things you can do with a happy, cheery smile and a 50-cent pumpkin. In the words of Bob, “How high do you think we can go” when serving our God?

To Date:

Gift 1: $20, Fall Festival fundraiser;

Gift 2: $100, Christmas presents for two kids;

Gift 3: $100, cash for the parents of the two kids supported by Gift 2;

Gift 4: $100, foster care welcome kit supplies;

Gift 5: $100, ADRA gift catalog (48 students receive lunches; four love gifts; one orphan receives food, education, medical care for a month);

Gift 6: $100, ADRA gift catalog (one goat, one love gift, one baby chick, 12 kids receive lunch, one month of food, one person receives access to water, 10 water bottles);

Gift 7: $120, Christmas presents for 8-year old boy and postage to mail them;

Gift 8: $100, sleeping bags for homeless;

Gift 9: $100, help a family recover from their home being destroyed by fire;

Gift 10: $50, ►more sleeping bags and help the family recover from the fire.