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Utilizing local resources

September 13, 2018

As a member of Thrivent Financial, Andrea Holly is planning to utilize the Thrivent Action Team for upcoming Big Pals Little Pals events.

“This is my first time working with (Thrivent Action Team) but I know that the previous executive director (Roxanne McCright) had done a number of them,” said Holly, executive director of Big Pals Little Pals, a nonprofit organization geared toward matching adult mentors with area youth. “It helps out a lot.”

Melanie Knoepfle, financial consultant at Thrivent Financial, said the program is geared toward helping its members succeed with their projects by providing supplies like a Community Impact Cards loaded with $250 for expenses, Live Generously t-shirts, banners and ‘Thank You’ cards. She said each member is allowed to benefit from the program twice yearly for fundraisers, service activities or educational events.

Big Pals Little Pals is planning to host its Cook Around The World course led by one of its Big Pals, who will be teaching members how to make recipes from countries like Greece, Italy and Mexico. The course is being held from 6-8 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 27, at Hy-Vee, 3010 23rd St. The event is open to organization members, youth on the organization’s waiting list and those interested in serving as mentors.

Holly said the Thrivent program helped fund numerous prior events. This year, she said the $250 in funding paid for different ingredients needed for the cooking course that’s catering to about 40 attendees.

“All the cost is covered by the Thrivent Action Team, so that’s an incredible opportunity,” she said. “Without that (program), we probably wouldn’t be able to afford to do activities like this.”

The partnership with Thrivent Financial oftentimes helps boost attendance, which is always a positive, she added.

Holly said the Cook Around The World event is intended to boost the relationship between the Big and Little pals, especially those who were recently matched. She said she’s made two new matches in the last week.

“Every month, we try to put on an event to just sort of bring everybody together,” she said. “It helps them connect and it also gives the matches a chance to have an activity that they don’t have to worry about or pay for. We do encourage them to do low or no-cost activities but it’s kind of fun, once in a while, to treat them a little bit.”

The chef will be demonstrating steps to making meals like pico de gallo, bruschetta on crostini, Caprese salad and German potato salad, on top of providing knowledge regarding the history of each country associated with the dishes attendees prepare.

“I think it would just be fun to watch the kids try the food because I think for a lot of them, it would be outside from what they normally try,” Holly said.

With the organization’s biggest Bowl-A-Thon fundraiser just around the corner, Holly said she plans on seeking assistance from the program once more, which would complete her twice-a-year limit.

Holly said the event gathers more than $10,000 annually, which is the biggest portion of the organization’s budget. However, Holly is raising the bar this year with hopes of raising at least $15,000 by doubling the event capacity.

This year’s Bowl-A-Thon, with a neon theme, will be held from noon-4:30 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 4, at Westbrook Lanes Bowling Center, 3156 51st Ave. Admission is $150 per team of four and the sponsorship level begins at $200.

Those wishing to participate or sponsor the event are encouraged to contact Holly at bigpalslittlepals@gmail.com.

Natasya Ong is a reporter for The Columbus Telegram. Reach her via email at natasya.ong@lee.net.

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