By Alison Menzmer
If you happened to pass by Founders Hall at the Collegedale Commons not too long ago, on December 6, you would have seen (and heard) a miracle in progress.
You see, there are people in our community who don’t always know where their next meal will come from. The Samaritan Center’s food bank helps just such people. Trouble is, the donations to the Center’s food bank are lower right now due to COVID-19, and the need is greater.
Eighty-three strings players of all ages joined together for a “play-a-thon” to raise money for the food bank, and 13 more joined us in heart off-site. We played music with difficulty levels ranging from “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” to advanced chamber groups. This play-a-thon ran for 8 hours, from 8:15 am to 4:15 pm. In that time, we totaled 126 playing hours on-site and 6 hour, 20 minutes off-site. But you may be wondering how this came about, so let me rewind a bit and tell you our story.
In the fall of 2017, hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria caused desolation and destruction. Many people were hurting, both physically and emotionally, and needed help. So two influential violin teachers in the Collegedale area put their heads together and came up with something called “Hope Twinkles!” It was to be a 12-hour play-a-thon for strings students. The kids would ask people to sponsor them and donate based on how long that student played music at Hope Twinkles. The money collected would then be sent for hurricane relief.
The response was overwhelming! Over eighty players participated, and we ended up raising over $4,500. The next fall, those same two strings teachers decided to put on another “Hope Twinkles!” play-a-thon. We sent over $4,000 to help rebuild an academy that was hit by the California wildfires. In 2019, we helped Grand Bahama Academy recover from hurricane damage, and in the spring of 2020 we raised money for our own community’s recovery from the Easter tornadoes. Over the years, we have raised more than $23,000!
I enjoyed playing violin and viola for a couple of hours with my friends at Hope Twinkles this year. Thanks to my sponsors, I was able to raise $1,174 for the Samaritan Center’s food bank! I enjoy the chance I get through Hope Twinkles to use my skills and interests of music for serving. After all, the mission of Hope Twinkles is to turn “Music…to Money…to Ministry.”
This Hope Twinkles, we have received 156 pounds of food donations and $5,283.95 to date. We are grateful to our community friends (and friends literally all over the world) for supporting us, and we are thankful to God for the gift of music, the gift of ministry, and the opportunity to put those two together. You can see photos on our website here: https://hoope-twinkles-2020.webnode.com.