Several Arkansans answered the call and said they wanted to "pay it forward" during Lent.
Three $100 grants were handed out by Arkansas Catholic this week to an individual, school and Catholic organization that will grow their investment through Holy Week and hopefully make a difference in their community or world.
It is the first year the diocesan newspaper has hosted The Pay It Forward Campaign. An anonymous donor provided the grant money.
The campaign's concept is based on the New Testament parable of the talents found in Matthew 25:14-28. A 2000 dramatic movie, starring Kevin Spacey, made the phrase "pay it forward" popular. According to the movie, "When someone does you a big favor, don't pay it back. Pay it forward."
This year's winners are:
St. John School, Hot Springs
Linda Good, eighth grade teacher, will work with her students to make cupcakes and trail mix and sell them on Mondays at the school and to other Catholic churches in the county after weekend Masses. Good said her students were eager to help the parish's sister church and school in Haiti and came up with the idea of the bake sale to support St. Andrew School in Calladere.
"I only have 12 students (which I call my disciples), but look what Jesus accomplished with only his 12 apostles," Good wrote in their application. "We just hope to follow the greatest teacher that ever lived and raise money for Mission Haiti."
Ladies of Charity of Arkansas, Little Rock
Sandy DeCoursey, executive vice president for the Ladies of Charity of Arkansas, wrote that each member will be given $5, a copy of parable and the "Pay It Forward" challenge. Each member will be asked to grow their $5 by participating with one of their current projects, such as making cookies for the homeless, assisting with the urban garden for the elderly and immigrants or making layettes for pregnant, unwed mothers.
"The Pay It Forward campaign is the perfect Lenten challenge for each LCArk member to promote the mission of the Ladies of Charity: to serve rather than be served in humility, simplicity and charity," she wrote.
Elizabeth J. Thomas, Immaculate Heart of March Church, North Little Rock (Marche)
She will be challenging 100 parishioners to make a commitment to "living a giving life through Christ." Each participant or family will get $1 and be challenged to make sacrifices during Lent, such as not eating at restaurants, going to movies or buying video games. The money saved would be donated to the cause.
"With the prayer time, reflection and learning to think of others' needs before our own fleshly desires, the person or family ... will benefit first and then a worthy cause like those without necessities will have basic needs provided to them."
Thomas wrote that she would like the money to support a sister parish or third-world mission.
By Malea Hargett, Editor
Three winners using Lent to 'pay it forward' | Arkansas Catholic | February 28, 2009
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