I loved the idea of the pigs and thought immediately of ways we could use it here. In the past, Lutheran Living has raised money for God’s Global Barnyard by saving their Bingo winnings. I thought we could do that and more. So I painted our pig and had a kick-off a couple of weeks before lent began. I invited everyone to suggest names for the pig at a quarter per guess. We immediately raised $37! We drew the name Penelope out of our suggestions, so Penelope she was (it’s painted on her ear).
Beginning with Ash Wednesday, we collected and saved our offerings from worship. During the week, Penelope would “hide” around the building each morning (only in public spaces, where residents could easily see her). It had initially been my plan to do this only a couple of times a week and put a dollar in when she was found, but when I announced it to our administrative staff, they got so excited that they wanted to participate, so they offered a “reward” each time a resident found the pig. Most of them sponsored a week for $5, but many gave much more. Caregivers, family members, and floor staff got in on the game too, often assisting residents who couldn’t participate on their own so they could have the fun of hearing their names announced over the intercom as that day’s finder of the pig!
Residents and staff alike had so much fun with this and I did too (although I admit I was running out of places to hide her). We have raised much more than our goal – an amazing amount from a relatively small group of people on fixed incomes. God was really with them, inspiring their generosity for those whose need is greater than their own.
Lutheran Living – Chaplain