It was Only a Bag of Change


It was Only a Bag of Change

Two months ago our family got one of the best thank you letters we have ever received.  Through our church we donated a pretty-good sized bag of change that we collected over the year.  The donation went to Jason Lee Food Bank, a small church-run ministry (not associated with our congregation) staffed by elderly volunteers.  I went to our church office to donate the money, knowing our fine staff would get it to the food bank – assuming that was the end of the story.

But, a couple of weeks later, a sweet hand-addressed letter on “antique” stationery arrived.  By the perfect script, it was clear that an older person had written it.  And this is what the letter said:

Dear Friends,

Let me begin by saying that I hope I have the right family as I was not given any first names or address, and also the name was spelled a little differently.

That being said, if you are, in fact, the family that collected coins for the food bank, then a thousand thanks for the nearly $xxx donation!

We suspect that this must have been a year-long project and may have involved family members foregoing certain favorite things.  Whatever the motivation, we admire your commitment and especially your caring and compassion for the hungry families in our midst.  Last year broke all records for our food bank and we expect more of the same this year.  Thank you hugely for helping us get 2013 off to a good start! (We have already had a record month in January).

With gratitude,
Candice N.
Jason Lee Food Bank

Here’s what made this a great thank you letter:
1.    It was a surprise.  I never expected that we would hear from someone at the food bank.  For heaven’s sake, it was only a bag of change.
2.    Someone went to a lot of effort to figure out how to get a thank you letter to us. 
3.    It was personal.  Candace made our family feel like we were special.
4.    We were reminded about the need and how our gift was making a difference.
5.    It motivated me to continue supporting the Jason Lee Food Bank and made me feel, not merely OK, but great about giving there.

You may not always have the opportunity to surprise someone or need to find an address, but you can write a personal letter (or add a personal note), you can let the person receiving the letter know the impact the gift is making, and you can pray that your letter makes such an impact that whoever receives it will be thrilled to give you a future gift.


Cesie Delve Scheuermann
Cesie Delve Scheuermann is consultant in grant writing and stewardship/development working with the Conference. From 2008-12 she was the Conference Lay Leader for the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference.