By Aaron Day
A CHURCH group seeking $15,000 to start a preschool ministry in the fall has raised more than a third of its target within the first 10 days of its online appeal.
Teachers who worked at First Baptist church’s Ninth Avenue preschool campus in Texas City before it closed last month have been offered a new home by another church just a few blocks away.
As a result, they’re hoping to attract students from families whose parents either cannot or do not wish to drive their children to and from First Baptist’s 3210 Gulf Freeway preschool and elemen-tary campus each weekday morning and evening.
The congregation at Calvary Reformed Baptist Church stepped in and offered to renovate part of its 517 18th Avenue North building for preschool classes when First Baptist moved from its 1400 Ninth Avenue church after selling the iconic building to Texas City independent school dis-trict.
One challenge is the cost of the renovations but, undeterred, the church and teachers have formed an alliance to raise the money through crowdfunding, a method of financing projects that makes great use of the internet’s social-media sites to appeal to friends and sympathizers for donations.
Former First Baptist preschool worker Melissa Locke opened a page on the GoFundMe website on June 25 and, by Thursday, her appeal had raised $5,400 from 16 gifts, including an anony-mous donation of $3,000 and another of $900.
Announcing the appeal, Locke said she and several other people had been involved with the First Baptist ministry “for a very long time” and that it was thriving at the time of its closure.
“Needless to say, we were devastated,” she said.
Her distress did not go unnoticed. Although several donations have come in anonymously, many are accompanied by comments showing deep appreciation for the teachers’ former work and a great desire for it to be continued.
Debbie James gave $100, saying: “This ministry has been a big part of our city for over 50 years! I am so glad it’s not ending but starting a new chapter.
“The staff gets as much of a blessing being with your children as they give. Thank you Calvary for giving them a new home!”
And Joshua and Summer Chapman, who also gave $100, said: “You lovely ladies taught our children their ABCs and God’s love with excellence for many years. We will forever be grateful for your co-parenting and are thrilled that other children in our community will have the same opportunity.”
Anyone who would like to donate to the online appeal can do so at gofundme.com/xs84vwg.
For anyone preferring to part company with paper cash, the church will be holding a yard and bake sale, plus carwash from 8:00am to 2:00pm next Saturday, July 11. The carwash will cost $5.00 for the exterior only or $10.00 to include vacuuming the interior.