Reverse Offering Stories

On Pentecost 2022, First Church gave a reverse offering of $4,500. Those in attendance were told, "do good with this money, come back, and tell us how you spread the love." Our church family responded with the heartwarming stories below.

Your Stories of Shared Love

Isaac donated $35 to Sandy Hook Promise. Maybe by the time he is in school, he will be safe from gun violence. ❤️ Isaac Pomerleau, age one year

I supported moms feeding babies by donating $25 to Mothers Milk Bank. I supported women’s health/right to choose by donating $25 to a womens health clinic. ❤️ Charlotte Pomerleau

I gave my gift of $30 to the JBJ Soul Foundation, a foundation started in 2006 by Jon Bon Jovi to help fight hunger, poverty and homelessness. Doing so by building affordable housing and volunteer kitchens, and supporting social services and job training programs. Most known for the JBJ Soul Kitchens they operate which are community kitchens built around a pay it forward model where 51% of customers are donors and 49% are in need. These are the kitchens Jon Bon Jovi was seen working in dishwashing at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic because people needed to be fed but they were not allowed to have volunteers inside the kitchen. ❤️ Jared Price, age 24

“Dad (Charles Gray) and I are using our $$ and matching it to help the family of a former Heifer Colleague from Ukraine get his daughter and his grandchildren to Canada. Many people have rallied to help this family including a family from Syria who immigrated to Canada 5 years ago and now want to help another family. At Heifer International, one of our guiding principles was called Passing on the Gift and in this case I can’t think of a better way than one immigrant family sharing with another who find themselves in the same situation. – #lovewins ❤️ Patricia Keay, age 69

We pooled our 3 envelopes and at Julia’s suggestion we are donating it to the Trevor project ❤️ The Fogerty Family

I gave my gift to the David Malo gofundme fund. He past away this morning, June 7 at age of 56. Struggled 13 years with cancer. ❤️ Linda Hasselmann

I made two $25 donations: one to Worcester Fellowship and the other to World Central Kitchen ❤️ Diana Engelbart

Inspired by First Church’s work during the pandemic, I matched my gift of $15 (plus $35, for a total of $50) to World Central Kitchen. I was listening to a podcast where the founder was being interviewed, and I was so inspired by his work networking restaurants to feed millions and millions of people around the world, from New Orleans to Puerto Rico to Ukraine. Right now, they are ensuring that families living in subway stations in Ukraine are fed 24 hours a day.  Food is Love. See https://wck.org/story  ❤️ Robin Bartlett, age 46

Dan and I talked about the reverse offering this weekend while listening online from Maine, LOVED the idea. Dan chose World Central Kitchen and I chose Sudden Arrythmia Death Syndrome (SADS) organization, in honor of a friend who lost her little 7 year old granddaughter this year to it. ❤️ Dan and Kathy Greene

I added to my $20 gift to give $50 through NH Gives for non profits to the Prescott Park Arts Festival here in Portsmouth. ❤️ Barbara DeStefano

Rae (Sara) donated their gift to the foundation in honor of their grandparents: The Joseph and Leslie Care Foundation. I am going to donate my gift to Net of Compassion. ❤️ Michelle Harris, age 47

I used my gift to help the family of David Malo. David just passed after a very long battle with a rare form of kidney cancer. His illness had disabled him, using must of his savings and having no life insurance and a special needs child. ❤️ Jenn

Giffords Law Center- to prevent gun violence. There were so many charities I thought of but the time is NOW to discuss this issue. Recently I spoke with a young mother who was afraid to go on a 5K for fear of being shot in the crowd and leaving her baby without a mom. Or a year old who said to his parent, ‘ I don’t want to die at school’. Or the mom whose middle school child turned to her and said, ‘What picture of me would you use if I am killed at school’. Not trying to take away anyone’s guns just want to promote better laws and awareness. ❤️ Sue Smith, age 65

I took the $20 I received, matched the amount, and donated it to the USO, which serves to strengthen military service members by keeping them connected to family, home, and country. The USO then matched the donation!!! ❤️ Marj Johnson

I was not as creative as some here, I matched the amount I received and donated it to Wheat. I do have some additional ideas for the future, but wanted to help address a need now, so I let the church match my gift to Wheat.  ❤️ Wil Pelletier, age 61

The Potenza family chose to send our money to Puerto Rico to the All Sato Rescue. This organization rescues puppies (many from what they call “dead dog beach”) and sends them to the US for adoption as well as and working to reduce the stray dog population in Puerto Rico. All Sato is close to our heart because it is the organization that rescued our beloved Banjo that we were lucky enough to adopt from the Sterling Animal shelter. ❤️ Catherine Potenza, age 40

I used the money to buy treats and toys for the doggies at NEADS because they are good doggies. And then I saw a NEADS doggie in Maine named Benny and he was a good doggie. ❤️ Nate, age 5

I donated the money to the Conant Public Library’s Summer Reading Program because I love to read. ❤️ Andy, age 7

I received $25 and I gave it to a woman I work with that is pregnant and had to miss a week of work due to complications. I thought it could be used towards food  ❤️ Earth Angel

I went rogue and brought it back to Florida. Every day I pass homeless folks with signs in need of food and money. There is a woman who has osteoporosis and walks bent over due to its complications. I used the funds given and doubled it and gave it to her. I had a nice conversation with her, as best I could since English is not her first language. She smiled a toothless grin and thanked me and God. Indeed. ❤️ Melissa Kerrigan

After church that Sunday, I stopped at Walmart in West Bolyston to run a few errands. I was leaving on a vacation the next day and wondering how I could use my gift before I left. As I was driving out of the Walmart parking lot, I saw a family of 5, husband, wife, baby, and 2 other children, with a sign asking for help. I stopped the car, jumped out, and gave the Mom the envelope, telling her it was from my church. She was so thrilled and grateful, it made my day. As I was driving away, I saw another person walking up to the family to help them out too. The power of suggestion, maybe?? ❤️ Janice McLean

Doubled and to Worcester Fellowship ❤️ Martha Keating

“Gave to my daughter (1/2 left leg amputee) who walks the Jimmy Fund Marathon every year, but she decided that her town food pantry needed it more than the Jimmy Fund as she raises so much money through pledges by family and friends. ❤️ Marsha Whittier, age 83

I doubled my offering amount & donated to MOVE ON. It was hard to decide, as there are so many causes I am passionate about. Given the current climate in the country, I decided I wanted to give my money to an organization that supports & lobbies for changes that I personally believe in; specifically Women’s Rights & Gun Legislation. ❤️ Robin Harper, age 67

My mom and I gave our gift to the Veteran’s Association of America in honor of my beloved maternal grandfather, a veteran of World War II and the recipient of a Purple Heart. This is a cause very close to my mother’s heart and one she contributes to regularly, but she usually isn’t able to give as much as she’d like. She was so happy to be able to give them a larger gift this time around. ❤️ Melanie King & Virginia Turpin, ages 43 & 69

I was given $30 and I added more to that and spent it all on foods the Wachusett Food Pantry needs. ❤️ Louisa

We put our money together and also added to it. We want it to go to the Trevor Project!! Extremely important . So glad our youth raised an awareness,  ❤️ Marianne and John

We combined both our envelopes and added a bit to donate to everytown.org. This is an organization founded by Michael Bloomberg. We specified funds go toward stemming gun violence in this country. Thank you! ❤️  Roy and Carol Dennington

K and Z combined their envelopes and took their mom out to lunch. They paid for her, I paid for them. They were so excited to be able to take their mom out and do something special for her. ❤️ Jennifer

I donated to The Boston Renegades, a blind baseball team run by the Association of Blind Citizens (ABC). Beep baseball, or “beep ball,” is a modified form of baseball for the blind or visually impaired. In this variation, the balls (when in play) and the bases make a “beeping” noise to assist the players make their plays.
Back in 2021 I volunteered when asked by my friend Rob Weissman who was coaching a team through the Lowell Association for the Blind. I was a sighted “spotter” in the outfield for a couple of years. I can tell you firsthand how exciting and absolutely amazing this game is. Blindness is not thought of as a barrier to playing great ball.
From those humble beginnings, as they had a reputation as one of the worst Beep teams in the area, under Rob’s couching the payers honed their skills, dug in and went on to become the Boston Renegades. They practice and play locally in the greater Boston area, as well as travel throughout the U.S. competing with other Beep teams. In 2016, the Boston Renegades made it to the Beep World Series!
The Boston Renegades, and other teams like them, exemplify what can be accomplished regardless of life’s challenges. They are passionate ball players and positive role models on many levels. The donation will help the team compete at the national level. Beep Baseball is an expensive sport because the adapted equipment is specially made and opponents are all out of state requiring extensive travel.
This is not a game for the faint of heart, you have to see it to believe it – so check them out at: www.blindcitizens.org/renegades. Thank you for your support ❤️  Janet Madison

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