Tonight was our last night selling citrus at Sam’s Club. David and I were the only ones there for the first two hours, and it was bone-chillingly cold. I remembered that I had some hand-warmer things in the glove compartment of my car, and I slipped one into each of my shoes to try to thaw out my toes. It seemed to work. My toes never did feel “warm”, but they did quit feeling frozen.

About an hour into it, one of the managers came outside and asked if we were from the church next door. I told her that yes, we certainly were, and she handed me a grant application. They had just gone over their books and found that they still had $2K or so of grant money to donate this year, and they wanted us (and the Salvation Army) to apply for it. Cool!

When I got home I took a look at the grant request form. They want us to explain how the grant will help the local community. Hmmm. I’m convinced it will help the local community, but I’m not convinced of my ability to convince them that it will.

We’ve been selling the fruit to raise money to take our Pathfinder club on a mission trip to Latin America next December. It’s going to cost about $1,500 per person, and I estimate that we will send about 20 people. That’s $30K, which is a lot of money (to me anyhow). We don’t have a specific destination yet, because we’re planning to go on a trip set up by Maranatha, and they have not yet announced which trips will be available that far into the future.

My task is to explain how sending kids on a mission trip to Latin America benefits the local community here. My thoughts are that when the people who go on this trip see how the undeveloped world lives, they will be forever changed. They will seek a life of service to their fellow man, and that almost has to benefit the local community. But will Sam’s Club see it that way? I don’t know!

When I asked them for permission to sell fruit at their exit door, they knew that I was from “the church next-door” which is entirely true. They approved my request before I ever got a chance to explain the Pathfinders part. The one thing I do know about selling ideas is that you should quit selling when they say yes. Otherwise, you might talk them out of it!

I could request the money to fund the Pathfinder program. We already have funding, but more never hurts. Our club absolutely does benefit our community, as we do all sorts of things (that I often chronicle here) in that vein. For example, we collect canned goods for the needy, prepare lunches for the homeless, perform flag retirement ceremonies, go carolling at the police and fire stations, visit nursing homes, and visit shut-ins. I have plans for us to pick up litter at parks, trails, or streams, but I haven’t yet managed to work that in yet. We worked on the Disaster Response honors so that if there is a disaster, we will be ready to help. We provide a positive environment where kids learn to serve their fellow man. The list goes on and on.

On the other hand, we could use it for more than just Pathfinders. Perhaps we could build a storage shed to store some of our Community Services supplies (used clothing, food, and furniture, etc). Our church routinely hands that sort of thing out to people in need, and in this economy, that need is ever-present.

So while the prospect of this grant money is very exciting, and the managers at Sam’s have all but told me it’s ours, I’m still trying to figure out how to fill out the request form.