Tampa Bay Church Nets Thousands for Heifer International at Two-Hour Fundraiser

Live animals, global village and more make Living Gift Market
fun, educational and highly successful

First Presbyterian Church in Brandon is a small church, but its members were able to raise $20,000 in just two short hours with a Heifer International Living Gift Market and is on target to surpass that goal this year on November 19.

“Our last Heifer Living Gift Market in 2012 raised $20,000,” said Dawn Trattner, volunteer co-chair of the event. “It’s pretty amazing how a church with membership of around 350 people is able to do so much in such a short amount of time.”

One of the secrets to First Presbyterian’s successful event, which has little or no budget, is the friendly competition created between ministry groups. Each group chooses an animal to champion and then gets to work on raising money. The Tuesday Sunrise Men’s Group promotes goats while the youth seek support for bees, according to Trattner.

In addition to having live animals such as chicks and rabbits, which are always a hit, the church’s Living Gift Market includes a global village that educates members and visitors about hunger and poverty challenges facing communities around the world. 

“All Living Gift Market participants are given a series of questions about animals that are answered at each booth,” Trattner said. “They take their completed card to the global village for a special prize.” This year First Presbyterian will be adding a silent auction to the activities, with all proceeds going to support Heifer International.

Founded in 1944, Heifer International is a global nonprofit leader of sustainable agricultural development for smallholder farmers. Family-oriented, community-based development models remain at the core of Heifer’s programs, along with the Passing on the Gift® process, where families agree to give the first offspring of their donated animal to another family in need. 

Trattner, who has visited the Heifer Ranch in Arkansas and projects in Honduras, says that seeing the results of Heifer projects firsthand helped her to really understand the value of the education given to farmers, in addition to animals or agricultural items.

“A farmer in Honduras told me that if you have the flour and the egg, but don’t have the recipe, you can’t bake the bread,” said Trattner. “Through Heifer we are helping to make people more self-reliant.”

Heifer International’s stated mission is to work with communities to end world hunger and poverty and to care for the Earth. 

“Research tells us that an estimated 805 million people in the world don’t have enough to eat,” said Pat Keay, national community engagement director for Heifer International.  “We know that with the right tools, training and livestock, small farms in impoverished nations can be transformed. We believe small farms are key to feeding the entire world. Support from churches like First Presbyterian Church is critical in helping us reach our goal of helping two million families annually.”

“It may be just one family at a time, but soon that family gives to another family and an entire village grows,” said Trattner.

For information about Heifer’s Living Gift Market and other programs, or to order resources, visit www.heifer.org. In addition to the online resources, printed resources may be requested by calling (800) 422-0474.

 About Heifer International:
Heifer International’s mission is to end hunger and poverty while caring for the Earth. Since 1944, Heifer International has provided livestock and environmentally sound agricultural training to improve the lives of those who struggle daily for reliable sources of food and income. Heifer is currently working in more than 30 countries, including the United States, to help families and communities become more self-reliant. For more information, visit
www.heifer.org, read our blog, follow us on Facebook or Twitter, or call 1-800-696-1918.