Church's 'Big Give' to benefit orphanage in Jamaica

Christian Life Center members are selling goods and services to buy playground equipment.

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WALLA WALLA — Whether brewing fresh-pressed apple cider or pampering feet with a professional pedicure, Christian Life Center’s members are offering their skills and talents for a good cause.

As part of the church’s annual "Big Give," members are offering a wide range of products and services for donations to buy playground equipment for an orphanage in Jamaica.

The church hopes to raise $16,000 for the 65 children who live at Blossom Gardens orphanage. A new playground would replace an old and weathered set that has only two swings. Organizers hope to secure the new gear in time for Christmas.

Christian Life Center is working with the nonprofit Embracing Orphans, and is looking for community support.

Embracing Orphans was established by Walla Walla resident Carl Robanske. The not-for-profit organization seeks to improve the lives of children who are growing up in orphanages around the world. Its current efforts are based in Jamaica, specifically at Blossom Gardens.

The most recent Big Give fundraiser secured close to 200 bicycles that were distributed to Walla Walla children who didn’t have a bicycle.

This year’s fundraising efforts are unique, with church members offering services and goods.

Services range from leaf-raking, window washing, professional pedicures and professional photography. Some of the tasty treats include fresh-pressed apple cider, homemade barbecue sauce, cinnamon rolls, specialty breads, cookies, candies and other baked goods, as well as a special brew of coffee.

There are also several items to be raffled, including a new Wii video game system, a goods and services packages to local businesses worth about $1,500, and a one-of-a-kind, custom-made hunting knife.

On the horizon may also be a disc golf marathon and a local talent show.

"With Christmas fast approaching, what better way to find a perfect gift all while helping children in need," said church member Erika Carlisle in a news release.

About the 2009 Big Give

To date, there are close to 30 goods and services up for sale or raffle. Participating members have committed to donating those proceeds for the playground equipment.

To see a list of the services and goods being offered by Christian Life Center members, go to clcplaygroundproject.com, or call the church at 526-3450.

To learn more about Embracing Orphans, go to embracingorphans.org

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