Malaria fundraiser makes a SPLASH at Vinje Lutheran!

Allison Beebe

The ELCA Malaria Campaign has inspired all sorts of inventive fundraising efforts. Every time we think we have seen it all, another congregation surprises us with their ingenuity and creativity. This time, Vinje Lutheran Church in Willmar, Minnesota had a particularly fun way to raise money for malaria, and beat the heat while they were at it.

The congregation and the Vacation Bible School participants were challenged with raising $5,000 in three weeks for the ELCA Malaria Campaign. Their incentive was the chance to throw 200 water balloons at Vinje Lutheran staff for reaching their goal! You can imagine that members were eager to give.

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The VBS was charged with raising $1000 during the week of Catch the Buzz. If the kids met their goal, they would get a chance to toss water balloons at Pastor Chad Peterson. However, if the congregation as a whole could raise $5000 (including the VBS offering), the entire staff would be the target of the water balloons. After collecting offerings during multiple Sunday services, and through Catch the Buzz VBS, the congregation met their goal! On Sunday, August 3rd, the staff prepared to get soaked.  

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Photo: Pastor Chad (front) and Pastor Jeff try their best to hide from incoming water balloons!

The staff were good sports and came dressed ready to get splashed! Swim caps, flippers, bathrobes, ponchos and rain gear were donned in a comical attempt to keep dry. Foam noodles, umbrellas and even a tennis racket were used to deflect incoming water balloons.

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Photo: The staff are decked out in their best water wear.

A crowd of people - young and old – gathered to be a part of the balloon toss. When the moment came, people took their aim and let the balloons fly! 

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It was a great way to connect the good work of the children at VBS with the entire congregation. It was also a great way to celebrate their success! Thanks, Vinje Lutheran Church, especially to the kids, youth and helpers from Catch the Buzz VBS! And a big thanks to the staff members - we hope it was refreshing!