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Pestered in pink

A flock of pink flamingos is terrorizing homeowners in New Richmond, and raising money to aid in Hurricane Katrina clean-up efforts.

St. Luke's Lutheran Church has turned to plastic pink flamingos to try and meet its year-long fund raising goal of one million pennies for continuing relief efforts down south.

The fund-raising flock landed on its first yard Sunday night, much to the surprise of the targeted homeowner. The fake birds have long since flown the coop, as the homeowner who was "flamingo'ed" donated money to have the flock taken somewhere else.

"It allows them to decide onto which person's yard the flamingos will flock to next," said Dan Eichelberg, St. Luke's youth pastor.

St. Luke's has three flight recovery teams taking the flock from one house to the next. The flamingos only fly three nights per week. The flamingos' flight progress is being tracked on a map inside the church.

"People can buy flocking insurance to prevent any flamingos from flocking on their yard," Eichelberg said. "And this isn't just for our church. The flamingos could end up at a non-congregation member's house."

Eichelberg said the flamingos will continue to make the rounds for several weeks.

"People will be seeing them around town, wondering what's going on," he said.

Eichelberg said the project is one of several fun fund-raisers the church has sponsored since last fall. The church has also held a Valentine's Day dinner, silent auction, chili cook-off and a pie-in-the-face contest.

With a May 21 deadline looming, Eichelberg said the church has reached 80 percent of its goal (800,000 pennies or $8,000).

"It's going great," Eichelberg said of the ongoing effort. "It has kept us on our toes, trying to meet our goal. Even though we still have a ways to go, I know we can do it."

Money raised will eventually be sent to assist two churches in the Gulf region that were damaged or destroyed by the hurricane. Some of the funds are also earmarked for Habitat for Humanity efforts in the region.

Anyone wishing to make a donation to the church's effort can stop by St. Luke's or call Eichelberg at 246-4861.