On Sunday, January 19, at an intergenerational event, each attendee was surprised with an envelope that contained a $100 bill and the instructions “to share God’s love with the world.” Ideas were quickly shared in small groups and suggested to the larger assembly. The last caveat was a request to share back the stories of where the money went.
Here are their stories… [click on the names of beneficiaries to learn more about the organization]
HELPING OUT IN THE OLD NEIGHBORHOOD – ARDIE & GORDY G.
We spent our first 26 years as active members of St. Paul Lutheran Church in the Midway area. The young people’s group, “Luther League,” was our second home. Also we were married there, confirmed there and had three children baptized there. Therefore we thought it appropriate to find someone there to help in a small way financially. As is the case in inner city areas, there are many deprived families.
After numerous calls to reach St. Paul’s with no response (they merged with Reformation church in 1977 and the St. Paul’s building has been sold twice), I talked with the St. Paul Reformation Parish Administrator. I am please the she and Rev. Shebeck are including these funds in their “Good Samaritan Fund” to go directly to those with financial needs (see response below). I also thank Prince of Peace for giving us this opportunity, even in a small way to help others in need.
[From Rev. Dr. Patrick Shebeck, Senior Pastor, St. Paul Reformation Lutheran Church] Thank you for your gift. It has been applied to our “Good Samaritan Fund,” which goes directly to help people in need who stop in for food assistance. Your gift is making a difference in our community!”
SUPPORTING A SEMINARIAN – Anonymous
I passed it along to a seminary student along with some extra money. It will help to support a future investment in the community of believers.
YOUTH WITH A MISSION – KARLIND M.
The $100 was given to Youth With A Mission (YWAM), a global program supporting Christian group missions serving God’s purpose in the world. One of my former patients has been active in this program for several years in Europe, especially in Ukraine.
CREATING NEW EXPERIENCES TO HELP THE HOMELESS IN SOUTH BEND – SUE M.
Our grandson, Nate, is a freshman at Notre Dame. His residence hall, Siegfreids Hall, has sponsored a fundraiser for the last 14 years, called “Day of Man!” The money raised supports the South Bend Center for the Homeless. Each student resident must endure a full day with minimal clothing to experience what it feels like to not have the warmth of home or shelter. This is carried out in January.
HELPING THOSE WITHIN THE CHURCH – Anonymous
I returned the $100 back to the church. I hope that the money can find a person of need within the congregation. [The funds were added to the Pastor’s Discretionary Fund.]
HELPING THE BLIND AND THE HOMELESS – SHARON & RAY R.
We chose to give the $200 that we received between the two of us to two different organizations. First, we sent $100 to the MN State Academy for the Blind in grateful thanks for the services that they provide not only to our grandson, but to other blind children. We also sent $100 to the HealthEast Foundation’s Homeless Project. We chose this project because we have a close family member who is in this situation and is receiving support and services for homelessness and mental illness.
CHOIR ROBES – ESTHER T.
It felt terrific to receive this $100! I gave it to the PoP choir robe fund. Now I’m feeling grateful.
WAPO SCHOLARSHIP HONORING DEAN GRAMSTAD – DIANE D.
Thank you, Rose, for your generosity and for causing all of these ripples of kindness and caring. I chose to use the money for a Camp Wapo scholarship in memory of Donna’s son, Dean Gramstad. I never met Dean, but imagine that he had adventures of his own at camp. This donation is made in the spirit of exploration, of sunny days with new friends, the smell of bug spray and sticky marshmallows, and of jumping into perfect waters.
REACHING OUT TO THE HOMEBOUND – VERA I.
At first, I felt overwhelmed and confused. So many needs! After many days of contemplating this gift, I gave the money to PoP to buy stamps to help with expenses related to mailings to our home bound members.
HELPING OUT A NEIGHBOR – KIM & TARYN W.
We combined our money and contributed $200 to a go fund me for a woman who lost her job, health insurance, and cobra coverage while she is living with debilitating pain. She will have surgeries and procedures to correct a very rare vascular disorder.
HELPING A FRIEND WITH TONSILLITIS – LINDA O.
I pondered for quite a long time trying to decide how to best use this money! My husband and I decided we should do a matching gift. As I was checking my Facebook this week a former neighbor and friend had set up a Go Fund Me page. She is a single parent and has battled not feeling well for quite some time! It was decided that she will need a tonsillectomy which can be difficult for an adult. She has a low paying job and needs money for the days she will not be able to work while she recovers! Prayers for her surgery this coming Friday! I gave her $100 and then the other $100 I gave to Lutheran Social Services of Minnesota. It is an organization right here in Minnesota that provides hope for those who need it most in our community!
PARTNERING WITH LUTHERAN SOCIAL SERVICES – KENT O.
I matched my $100 and gave $200 to Lutheran Social Societies Minnesota for what they see as their greatest need. They help so many people in so many ways and have the experience to reach out as the people need. They help children, families, elderly, refugees, homeless, those needing financial counseling, and many more I gave it in memory of Rose.
HONORING MLK, JR – JEAN O.
In thankfulness for our adopted sons and in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. , I gave my “Gift from Rose” to No. St. Paul H.S. (Basketball Program) of which our sons were alumni. I enclosed these words with the donation: “.As we remember and celebrate the life today, January 20, 2020, of Martin Luther King, Jr., this donation is given in gratitude for those who lead and educate young students to be citizens of a world where ALL may one day live with dignity, respect, and hope.”
LOOKING FOR HOPE & FUELING RECOVERY – SUZAN H. & MICHAEL S.
This was hard because it feels selfish but we decided to put the money together to buy my son Scott a piece of equipment that he can do passive exercise with. That doesn’t cover all of it but it’s a good start. As many know, Scott has chronic Neurological Lyme disease among other things and he is in bed most of the time. A lot of his expenses we pay for for him are out of pocket . We are praying this might help him take a step to get his body a little exercise.
UPDATE: Back to the drawing board! We are returning the passive exercise machine for Scott because it really set off his neurological symptoms. I ended up sending the money to a single Mom who has been abused and is recovering from cancer.
FILLING EMPTY TANKS – Anonymous
When I opened the envelope, I had arrived at church that morning with an empty gas tank, and an empty checking account. I thought deeply about how I could use the $100, and concluded that it would be a blessing to others in my position, as well as me. After church, I went to the gas station, put $20 worth of fuel in my tank, and gave the other four 20 dollar bills to the cashier with the instructions to provide $20 worth of gas for anyone who came in to prepay for their gas. The young cashier was blown away but what I had said to him, and I needed to verify twice that he understood the expectation. I trust that those 20s went to people who needed a small relief from their everyday financial constraints.
HELPING IN RECOVERY – ROY L.
Support was directed to the Andrew Dodds Motivational Group that helps adults with special needs. The $100 was given to a single mother recovering from substance abuse. The gift provided for a deposit at a sober women’s home.
A FAMILY PROJECT CELEBRATING GRANDPA – Anonymous
Our family walked away with $400 from the Love Let Go project and plenty of ideas of how to send it into the world for good. Ultimately, we put $100 back in the offering plate and have $100 left to decide.
The remaining $200 was our favorite use: with the kids’ grandpa retiring the same week we received the money, we were reflecting on his 43 year career, working his way up from entry level to leader of a social services agency on the Iron Range. As we talked about all the good work their grandpa’s agency coordinates (Head Start, job skills training, meals for seniors, etc.), our kids lit up! They decided that a gift to his agency would be the perfect place for their donation. That weekend at the retirement party, they surprised grandpa with the money, to which he added another $100. That $300 donation went to “Bill’s House” which shelters families and young kids experiencing homelessness.
This project provided a big learning opportunity for our kids, opening the doors to many conversations of how we can keep supporting organizations that positively affect the lives of others.
DOUBLING OF CARING HEARTS FOR HOMELESS – CARYN J.
Prince of Peace is currently gathering donations for the Caring Hearts project through the HealthEast Foundation Homeless Project. I usually give cash but this year decided to go on a shopping spree instead. I matched the $100 and bought 100 travel size toiletry items (deodorant, shaving cream, razors, sanitizing wipes, travel toothbrush/toothpaste kits and pocket tissues) and 60 pairs of men’s and women’s white crew socks.
COLUMBARIUM ARTWORK – LINDA & DAN W.
There are a number of us who have chosen the columbarium at Prince of Peace. In support of the process of beautifying this place of peace and reflection the columbarium committee decided to add a sculpture. We are donating our generosity money to the sculpture fund.
CENTRAL PARK ELEMENTARY, OUR NEIGHBORHOOD SCHOOL – GARY O.
I thought about it for a while and decided to give it to Central Park Elementary where we do the Sheridan Story food ministry. When I walked into the office, Colleen, Principal Berkas’ Secretary and Office Manager said a cheery, “Hi Gary” (I’ve been acquainted with her for a while. I brought her the envelope with the 100 dollar bill and told her how Prince of Peace asked each recipient to use it for mission in the community. She looked stunned. I said, “I’ll bet Principal Berkas has a fund to help students who need a lift.” “She sure does,” said Colleen. I thought I saw her tear-up. She thanked me profusely and wrote Prince of Peace on the envelope. “A hundred dollars doesn’t go far,” I said. “You’d be surprised how many winter gloves that will buy,” she said. I left with a glad heart.
SPREADING THE JOY TO THE NEXT GENERATION – Anonymous
We have two grandkids in another town in southern Minnesota. One of them is currently in confirmation and very interested. We did share the Love Let Go story with our Daughter who shared the story with our Grand daughter in confirmation. At that point, the LLG story became a subject of discussion with our grand daughter’s confirmation group and leader.
Coincidentally, we were aware that the same grand daughter, of her own volition, dug into her own pocket for $30 some time ago to help a friend in need as she has a penchant for concern for others and doing something about it. Step at a time – I explained to our grand daughter about the $100 and asked what kind of ideas she would come up with for the gift if it was her call. Short story long… she came up with quite a list, all in the direction helping others in need be it warm clothing, school supplies or a decent meal.
A couple days later I let our grand daughter know that all her ideas were spot on for the project and asked her if she could go out and do those things she suggested if we sent her the $100. Her answer was a resounding Yes! Yes! Yes!
UPDATE: Following our Granddaughter’s welcome enthusiasm for spreading this message, she elected to contact the Dorthy Day Center in her home town of Rochester, Minnesota. She quizzed the staff to find out what items they really needed and to avoid items that they had enough of. She took her list on a shopping trip to figure out where she could get the most bang for the buck and ended up collecting and purchasing the following items which she then delivered back to the RST Dorthy Day Center.
- Fleece blanket
- Men’s gloves
- 10 pair men’s ankle socks
- 4 pair women’s gloves
- 10 pack women’s socks
- Man’s hat
- Women’s hat
- Two jars peanut butter
- Two jars jelly
- Six pair women’s underwear
- Three pack men’s underwear
- 4 toothbrushes
- 4 bath towels
- Two men’s T-shirts
HELPING A GRIEVING FRIEND – DOUG M.
My friend Tony lost his wife to cancer at a young age. The grief has cost days off from work and lost income. He was overwhelmed by the church’s generosity and gives thanks to you all.
HELPING ROSEVILLE HS YOUTH – MARIA L.
I was surprised and excited to be included in the “joy of giving.” At my table [during the LLG event], I learned of the need for the food shelf at the high school. I decided to ask Milt W. to bring my gift along with his to RAHS – which he did! Now I wonder how it’s possible to help the homeless youth, especially in Roseville.
GRATEFUL FOR HELP WITH PRESCRIPTION – Anonymous
Thank you for the $100. Before I decided how to pay it forward I went to the pharmacy to pick up my prescription for inhalers. The cost was $531. It was at that point that I made the decision to help myself with this cost. Thank you, thank you. It was a huge help.
FULL FAMILY EFFORT TO HELP A FRIEND – AMY S.
As a family, we talked about several different options over the last couple of weeks. Then I received a letter from my best friend growing up. Her ex-husband is undergoing a stem cell chemo regimen at the Mayo over the next few weeks and the medical bills are piling up. He has been unable to work much due to the cancer treatments he has already been undergoing. We decided as a family that we wanted to give our full $400 to him to help out with this.
What are you feeling now? Thankful. We would have donated to him anyway, but it was nice to send a large amount. Also, because the money had been given to them, the kids felt they were part of the contribution. Also, we enjoyed the experience of having conversations with the kids about how to use the money to share God’s love.
LIONS AND TIGERS AND… – KAELYN W.
[At first,] I was confused. I didn’t know why somebody was giving me $100. I donated my $100 to The Wildcat Sanctuary in Sandstone, MN. I chose this organization because I really like all cats and want to help them, and I think that what the organization is doing is really good. The sanctuary is home to lions, tigers, cougars, and many more big cats. [Now] I am glad that I chose this organization because I really like what they do to help wildcats.
INSPIRED BY JUST MERCY – CAROL S.
I gave my $100 donation to the Equal Justice Initiative this evening. I had spent this afternoon at the movies, seeing Just Mercy. And since we read it for one of the adult forum book discussions, I thought Equal Justice Initiative would be a good place to send it: their understanding of justice, mercy, and grace.
SUPPORTING PEOPLE WITH MENTAL ILLNESS – JOE Z.
[After receiving the surprise gift, I felt] pleased to be a PoP member. I matched it with my own $100.00 and made a donation of $200.00 to Tasks Unlimited in Minneapolis [provides supported employment, housing and recovery services for people with mental illness so that they achieve a full life with the rights and responsibilities of adults in our society]. I’m pleased to support a program that benefits many.
We received this note from Dana Hayes, Development Director at Tasks Unlimited:
Your church member Joe Zwack is a longtime supporter of our organization. We were overjoyed and honored to receive Joe’s gift to our organization. I did not want to let this moment go by without reaching out to thank you for this beautiful infusion of generosity and caring throughout the community. The gift will help us to support people with mental illness to lead engaged and meaningful lives and will be gratefully acknowledged as in memory of Rose Diestler. Thank you.
CARING FOR ANIMALS HERE & KOALAS IN AUSTRALIA – ERYNN W.
I was surprised because there were like 100 people there and we each got $100. I spent $40 on fleece to tie blankets for the Humane Society Animal Shelter and $10 on toys for the shelter. With the remaining $50, I donated to the Australian Koala Foundation to plant food trees for the Koalas after the devastating fires in AU. My cousin Izzy lives in Victoria, Australia. I am happy because I used the money to help take care of animals.
ADDING ARTWORK TO COLUMBARIUM – KAY & JIM J.
Looking back through many pages of notes, it seems our conversation [for including an art installation to the columbarium] began somewhere in 2011-12. And now it’s 2020 and the talk goes on. We have quite a variety of folks step up to help out on the columbarium project. As it moves forward slowly, a “project of the people,” we are hopeful that a decision will be made soon about the design. We are sure that Rose would be glad that we will be using her gift to continue working on this project.
REMEMBERING MY SON – DONNA G.
Thank you for the unexpected gift. Each year, I give a Wilderness Canoe Base Camper Scholarship in memory of my son Dean. My $100 will be added to the scholarship.
INVITING OTHERS TO CAMP – ERIKA W.
Opening that envelope took my breath away. With Rose’s $100 gift, I purchased t-shirts, mugs, hats and other items from Camp Wapo for the scholarship Giving Tree to be used as a small thank you for each $100 donation. It is my hope that Rose’s gifts and those camp gifts will inspire even greater giving in order to support our summer camp ministry. Love Let Go has left me feeling challenged and empowered by the gifts that God has given me and I am continuing to look for ways that I can contribute individually and collectively.
CHRISTMAS TOYS – GINA & DAVID S.
We plan to save the money and use it to purchase gifts during the 2020 Christmas season for Toys for Tots and other organizations that give to those in need during Christmas time.
STUDENT TEACHER SCHOLARSHIPS – RUTH H.
I donated to the Retired Educator’s Scholarship Fund. The scholarships are awarded to students enrolled in his/her third year of college intending to become a teacher.
NEW STATUARY FOR COLUMBARIUM – MAZIE N.
I am giving my $100 gift to the donor-supported Prince of Peace Columbarium Statuary Fund in loving memory of my Denny, Sheree, and Susan. [There is an effort underway to install an art-piece/statuary to the columbarium installation. A model is on display in the Library.]
ACTIVITIES FOR THOSE WITH MEMORY LOSS AND RESPITE FOR CAREGIVERS – CAROL & ROD Q.
To Carolyn Klaver, RN, Lyngblomsten Community Services– At services yesterday, Prince of Peace distributed $100 to every member asking that we “use it to share God’s love with the world,” while leaving it completely up to each congregant to determine how best to do that. As you know, Carol participates in The Gathering and we believe that this money would be well used… through Lyngblomsten.
CHILDREN & FAMILIES SEEKING ASYLUM AND REFUGE – GUS H.
Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service offered a matching grant for donations received before Jan. 31, 2020. Not every day can one turn a $100 gift into a $500 donation! Yup, in one day my donation was matched five to one, making a $100 donation worth $500; enough to provide resources for a family to settle into a safe community.
AN IMMEDIATE NEED AND A VISION FOR THE FUTURE – JAMES E.
I gave it to a member of our church who is sick and needs financial help. I would like a portion of [Rose’s Estate Gift] to be used to put solar panels on the church roof.
FEEDING HUNGRY STUDENTS – DEB C. @ ROSEVILLE SCHOOLS
The RAHS Food Shelf Is always happy to receive donations [they received $200 from 2 anonymous Love Let Go donors]. We provide, free of charge, non-perishable food items to our 2500 students and their families! In addition, we began a “snack bag” program for each teacher to be able to provide snacks to our students (so that teachers don’t have to spend their own money) We are so happy to receive this generous donation to continue these necessary services.
LOVE FOR AND FROM RESCUED ANIMALS – JOE L.
My children adopted a rescue dog from the Animal Humane Society last summer and that animal has done a lot of good and provided love and affection to them. Our Hundred dollars in Rose’s memory went to further the effort of the Animal Humane Society in placing animals with caring adopters. It also has become part of a larger matching grant which hopefully will meet its’ goal and release more funds to help rescued animals. I believe that my kids have learned a lot about love in taking care of one of Gods’ animals and they want other people to feel the same.
A HELPING HAND – anonymous
I and another person at our table donated it to a mother who was dipping into her 401k fund to pay for groceries and rent for her and her children. We didn’t want her to lose her home for lack of rent money. Hopefully it will help her get back on track. Even though working, she is having a hard time keeping up.
HONORING MY DAD – JAN H.
I was quite surprised by the contents of the envelope. I am gifting the $100 to the Honor Flight Twin Cities, a wonderful project that enables World War II veterans a once-in-a-lifetime experience at no cost to them. These men and women are flown to Washington, DC to have the opportunity to view the WWII Memorial as well as other memorials for a full day. My Dad had the opportunity to go on this incredible trip on October 5, 2013. I am now “paying it forward” to assist another veteran so that they can have the opportunity to feel the appreciation that is due him/her for their contribution to our country. I think that my Dad would be proud of the decision that I have made.