Zeke Orme’s death last year left a lasting impact among those at Cross Lutheran Church in Roberts as he was a member of the church and his funeral was held there.
“There was a personal connection to the congregation,” said Interim Pastor Durk Peterson. “The youth were pretty open about it.”
When the time came for the Little Red Shovel, a competition between Cross Lutheran and Trinity Lutheran in Hammond, in which churches raise funds for an event or organization, mental health/suicide awareness for St. Croix Central was an easy call.
“I think him being a member really motivated our members to be generous,” Peterson said.
Cross Lutheran Church raised the most funds, but the big winner was the high school, as the two churches combined raised $15,312. The competition ran from Feb. 10 through April 3
“It’s an awesome showing of financial support,” said SCC High School Principal Glenn Webb. “We greatly appreciate everyone’s thoughts and prayers during this process.”
This was the sixth year the churches have held the Little Red Shovel. Previous donations have gone toward the Roberts Food Shelf, Turning Point, an anti-malaria campaign, homes in Honduras and the Luther Point Bible Camp in Grantsburg.
“We wanted to involve the community as much as possible,” said Trinity Pastor Mike Briggs.
Trinity’s fundraisers included a meat raffle (Briggs wanted to thank the Parkside and owner Dusty Anderson for their help in that project), spaghetti raffle, the sale of suicide awareness ribbons and donation jars all across Hammond.
Cross’s fundraisers were two nights of mystery dinner theater, which Peterson estimated drew 200 people, the sale of Schwan’s and Tupperware.
By winning the trophy for the third straight year, Cross gets to pick the organization for 2017.
“I think they may follow up with the high school again,” Peterson said, which blew Webb away even more.
“That’s simply amazing,” Webb said. “It’s incredible the support they showed.”
Webb said the school will take some time on how to use the funds because they “don’t want to waste the money on one shot.”
A possibility, he said, is to incorporate mental health and awareness into the programming and curriculum. A final decision will likely be made in time for the beginning of the 2016-17 school year.