OTTUMWA — Since spring, Melissa Gingrich and the Kirkville Community Church have not stopped working to raise money for Steve Ruby, a man in need of a lung transplant.
At first Gingrich said she and the church were going to raise just $6,000, but then decided on $10,000.
They are half way toward their goal and plan to pursue more fundraisers, no matter how long it takes. They’ve raised money through bake sales in which Gingrich and teenagers from the church have baked cookies and sold them to different functions, including September’s Stink Fest.
“I pray about what we can do,” she said. “It’s so amazing to have so many people come together for a great cause. The group of kids at the church are being selfless. They may not always want to spend part of their weekend fundraising, but they do it anyway.”
Gingrich said the church has recently added another beneficiary to the fundraiser. They will also raise money for Tony Heisdorffer, who has cancer.
While it may take time to raise money for Ruby and Heisdorffer, Gingrich said if a person can donate or even pray, then it will help.
“What they contribute can literally help save lives,” she said, “it’s the difference between life and death if they didn’t get some type of contribution for saving lives.”
Gingrich only wants the best for them.
“I want to help uplift them spiritually,” she said. “I’m excited to see that passion of helping raise. The more people we touch, the better.”
She said their perseverance is inspiring and makes her thankful for her own life. “It makes me grateful for the health I have,” she said, “how different would their lives be if they didn’t get help. It’s a huge deal and it’s uplifting to my soul.”
“God’s got this,” she added. “I’m not trying to push religion down someone’s throat, but I do want people to know there’s hope that God gives so much hope — it’s the hope of seeing another day. “We can make a change,” she said. “We can have a message of hope.”
The next fundraising effort will be held from 5-8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 21 at Pizza Ranch. Gingrich said all are welcome. For more information about the fundraising efforts, email Melissa Gingrich at email@example.com.