Early afternoon on Sunday 20th September Eliana spent more than two hours typing the following lines on the GoFundMe website using just one finger:
Sponsor a Teddy Bear for Women’s Aid
Hello! My name is Eliana and this is my birthday week. I am turning 6 on Wednesday. I know I am going to have a lovely time with my family. But I also know that not all children have a happy home like me. So, I would like to help them. During the lockdown, my Mum and aunty Doreen from our Seventh-day Adventist church in East Kilbride knitted 32 lovely teddy bears. I packed each of them separately and prepared a big plastic box to bring them to WASLER (Women's Aid South Lanarkshire and East Renfrewshire). They are ready to bring a smile to 32 children. But if you help me, they can do even more! Please, sponsor these teddy bears with a little you can afford. WASLER will then be able to prepare personalised well-being packs for the children they support. My teddy bears will hop into them!!! Would you help me to raise £600 on my 6th birthday? Thank you.
Photo 1: Sister Doreen Montgomery sending an ‘army’ of teddy bears to Eliana
Once the story was published, Eliana had a week to experience that fundraising is a serious activity full of responsibilities. Scrolling through the names in her Mum’s and Dad’s phone she, first, identified all those who could support her effort and share her fundraising story. She also walked around her neighbourhood posting printouts of her story through the letter boxes. She regularly checked if any contribution had come and sent a ‘thank you’ message to each donor personally.
Photo 2: Eliana helping her Mum with another teddy bear
On the day of her Birthday, Eliana smiled seeing some of her neighbours knocking at the door, handing over their donations and wishing her Happy Birthday. Another day, when hardly any donations came, she prayed asking God to remind people of her fundraising initiative. Receiving further contributions even as high as £100 or £150, coming also from people unknown to Eliana’s family was a wonderful experience and added more building blocks to her journey of faith.
Photo 3: Eliana’s fundraising picture
While reaching the ambitious target of £600 seemed unrealistic to many, at the end of the week £730 were raised! A further donation of £120 made through the East Kilbride Church meant that the 32 beautiful teddy bears were delivered to Women’s Aid on Monday, 12th October, accompanied with a cheque for £850.
Photo 4: Hand-over ‘ceremony’ at the WASLER office
Loraine Harris, a Team Manager of the CYP Team at Women's Aid South Lanarkshire and East Renfrewshire, expressed her genuine gratitude for the continuous support of the East Kilbride church. The funds will enable them to distribute well-being packs to more than 50 children and young people. And the lovely teddy bears will certainly bring comfort and smile so much needed in a year like this.
Photo 5: Eliana with her hand made ‘Thank You’ cards prepared for her neighbours who supported her initiative
So, indeed, the mission of the church to spread the words of salvation and to lift up the burdens of humanity goes on even in the midst of the pandemic.