Buoyed by the success of the PICKING COTTON community book read a year ago, the HFP Development Committee decided on two important fund-raising events for 2016. With plans to bring a Broadway-style production to our community, DRIVING MISS DAISY was scheduled for the spring of 2016. And, hoping to establish the tradition of a community book reading event in the autumn, nationally known activist Sister Helen Prejean, author of DEAD MAN WALKING, was booked for next month.
Sadly, the dread disease of cancer has resulted in cancelations of both.
Shortly before the play was due to be produced in Grand Haven, a member of the small cast was diagnosed with terminal cancer. And just weeks before our fall fund-raiser, Sister Prejean was forced to cancel due to the terminal illness of her sister. In both situations, this was not just a schedule conflict that could be quickly modified and remedied. Neither program could be rescheduled in the foreseeable future.
This amounted to a major disappointment at three levels: for the many people who anticipated attending these delightful programs, for the committee members who felt they had hit two home-runs in one ball game, and for the HFP Board of Directors. Based on the successful bookings by the committee, the Board had confidently adopted a budget that even allowed for a slight surplus in 2016. But it was more than a disappointment; the results were far-reaching.
I know of no way to sugar-coat this. These two events were projected to bring in $40-50,000, which HFP needs to meet budget. With a few wonderful exceptions, HFP is much like the Bernie Sanders campaign. Most of our donors give smaller amounts, and while they are completely faithful, their gifts cannot match our expenses. A number of the donors are family members of inmates. Some, themselves, are prisoners. Their gifts are precious to us, but they’re not sufficient.
While I paint a gloomy picture, I must stress that all of us cling to the fact that, over the past 15 years of our growth and expansion, God has always been faithful! I’m reminded of the hymn Great is Thy Faithfulness.
I tell this story because we have many, many friends and supporters, and I feel that this brief but very real and very immediate financial crisis must be shared. We cannot let discouragement reign. We’re all in this together, and our work is just too important to be disrupted. So we need you!
Your ideas would be most welcome.
Your prayers are coveted.