Girls Find Reading One Way to Help Those in Need

Post a Comment » Written on February 27th, 2008     
Filed under: News
CHICAGO, IL (February 27, 2008) – What began as a way for four kindergarten and first-grade girls to help a family in Congo – and stay connected when one of the friends moved away – has turned into a growing ministry.

Marlowe Bangeman, Chloe Lindholm-Johnson, Hannah Clifton-Soderstrom, and Magdalen Norland attended North Park Covenant Church last year. As part of a 2007 Lenten project, the girls secured adults sponsor who agreed to contribute an amount of money for each book the girls read during Lent. The girls hoped to raise enough money to buy a cow for one family in Congo.

ReadersHowever, they more than quadrupled their goal, raising in excess of $1,000, which was enough to purchase four cows and 27 chickens for a number of villagers.

Fifteen girls at the church are participating in this year’s Lenten project, says Kerry Bangeman, Marlowe’s mother. She is impressed with the children’s commitment. “I’m just really excited for them to grow their awareness of what is going on beyond the suburbs and city, to know what is happening overseas.”

Also participating (long distance) in the project is Magdalen, whose family moved to Essex Junction, Vermont. “Our daughter is really excited,” says Peter Norland, Magdalen’s father, who also is pastor of Community Covenant Church in Essex Junction.

“These girls have been friends a long time,” says Kerry Bangeman, and they knew last year that the Norlunds would be moving. The friends thought the reading project would be something they could continue, even from a thousand miles away.

This year, the girls are raising money that will help purchase the drug Nevirapine, which is administered to HIV-infected pregnant women. The drug decreases – from 24 percent to eight percent – the chance of the baby contracting the virus, says Eric Bangeman, Marlowe’s father.

Money the girls raise will be distributed through the Paul Carlson Partnership, which is affiliated with the Evangelical Covenant Church. For more information, call North Park Covenant Church at 773-463-0055.

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