Train garden raises $6,125 Raffle by church will provide milk for needy children

'Enough to pay for year'

Pastor had the idea

volunteers assembled donated model parts

January 02, 1998|By Anne Haddad | Anne Haddad,SUN STAFF

In "The Little Engine That Could," a train delivers fresh milk and good things for children to eat.

That's just what the members of Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in Taneytown did.

The engine that could has delivered the goods is a 4-foot by 8-foot Lionel train garden put together by 20 parishioners and friends with donated parts.

Raffled before Christmas, it raised $6,125 for Carroll County Food Sunday.

"That's enough to pay for a whole year's worth of milk for children, with some matching money from Wal-Mart," said Anna Rollins, Food Sunday board chairwoman.

"No one has ever had a fund-raiser of this magnitude for us."

The food bank serves an average of 450 children weekly, Rollins said.

The Rev. John Douglas, pastor at Trinity, had the idea for the train garden, Rollins said. He had done a similar fund-raising event when he was a pastor in Anne Arundel County for a food bank there.

"I've been doing it for several years," Douglas said. "I started in 1992 at Emmanuel Lutheran in Pasadena. I just talked to them last night, and they raised about $8,000."

Model trains are Douglas' hobby, but the idea to turn it into a fund-raiser came out of prayer, he said.

The pastor said he and an intern at Emmanuel were praying for a project to help the poor and found they shared the train hobby.

In Taneytown, most parishioners working on the project had never constructed a train garden. But they put their heads and tools together to learn.

"There were only two or three people who had experience with model trains before," Douglas said, but they did have experience in building things and electronics.

"To have it work out this well the first time was pretty amazing."

Donated parts

The garden, filled with colorful trains, tracks and buildings, was estimated to be worth $1,800 -- with all the parts donated by businesses such as Crouse Ford, Alexander Real Estate, Design Associates, Thunderhead Lanes, Carrolltown Center, Wal-Mart, Super 99 Cent Store in Carrolltown Center, S & R Home Center and Keywood Builders.

The winner of the raffle was J. B. Hawk of Emmitsburg in a drawing Dec. 23 at Wal-Mart. Other prize winners included Vincent Perticone and Thomas Pittinger of Taneytown, Bridgit Sies and Thomas Malatt of New Windsor and John Hollingsworth of Hampstead.

Those who admired the train garden but didn't win can take heart. The parish plans to raffle another train garden next year.

In addition to the small group that built the train garden, about 300 others helped to get donations and organize the raffle.

The church displayed the set at three locations around the county -- Thunderhead Lanes in Taneytown, Carrolltown Center in Eldersburg and Wal-Mart in Westminster.

Sympathy for needy

Food Sunday has food banks in the three towns to distribute staples to people in need.

For Rollins, the experience illustrates that Carroll Countians do have great sympathy for less fortunate residents.

"This is an example of a church getting together and doing something really remarkable for the community," she said. "I think more churches need to be involved like this."

Setting priorities

The purchase of a year's worth of milk for needy Carroll children is significant, Rollins said.

As it is, the food bank has to set priorities for its limited cash supplies to buy perishable foods such as milk. For example, only families with children ages 16 or younger are eligible to get milk.

The food bank is applying for federal money to pay for milk for senior citizens who need calcium in their diets, Rollins said.

Pub Date: 1/02/98

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