If you were a member of Pullen between the fall of 1996 and the fall of 2004, you will remember well the phenomenon that overtook the church each Advent, instigated and enthusiastically supported by Mary Ruth Crook. Members acquired the habit of donating barnyard animals to their Christmas gift recipients through Heifer International. Each donor received a gift card to send to their recipient. (You will, too!)
Heifer International is a charity that began over 70 years ago as a way to address world hunger. It now supports sustainability and care of the earth as well. “Passing on the Gift” is the Heifer way. Heifer provides a pregnant goat or pig or sheep or heifer to a food-insecure family along with training in how to keep the animal healthy. The first offspring is given to a second family, along with the training. The second family provides its first offspring to a third family and so on, so that the original gift is multiplied many times in helping poor families have milk or wool or eggs or in helping them earn income to send their children to school.
Heifer works in 125 countries and has helped lift over 25 million families out of poverty. It has a three-star rating from Charity Navigator.
You may have noticed on the wall near the church office a row of nine colorful plaques, all but one representing the gift of an ark, a $5,000 yearly contribution Pullen made to Heifer between 1996 and 2004. The dark, carved wood plaque represents the year 2000, when we as a congregation gave two arks or $10,000 to Heifer.
While Heifer has been one of our Advent offering options in recent years, the project has not generated nearly the enthusiasm and support it had in Mary Ruth’s day. Her influence persists, however. One Pullen member, upon receiving an inheritance, donated an ark to Heifer.
Pullen Mission Women are sponsoring a congregation-wide appeal to raise the $5,000 in funds for an ark in Mary Ruth’s memory. It seems a fitting tribute to this saint among us who put us on the Heifer path. Our campaign begins today and will continue until we reach our goal.
If you would like to contribute to this effort, please make your check payable to Pullen and mark “Ark for Mary Ruth” on the memo line. We will keep you up to date on our progress. Thank you in advance for your generosity!
-Pullen Mission Women