Kids helping kids

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Sharing Fund strengthens children’s generosity

Family of five in a family photo

Members of the Siemens-Rhodes family of Goshen, Ind., gather for a group portrait. From left are Theo, Heidi, Mitch (holding Ira) and Adam. Photography by darcyholsopplephotography


The Everence Sharing Fund provided more than 2,300 grants in 2012, totaling more than $899,000 – numbers worth noting, but they’re only numbers.

Who are the people behind the numbers? Some of them are children in Ohio, touched when they heard about children in Indiana who’d lost their mother.

The kids at West Clinton Mennonite Church, Wauseon, Ohio, didn’t know Theo, Adam and Ira of Goshen, Ind. But that didn’t matter when they found out that the boys’ mother, Heidi Siemens-Rhodes, died in June 2012. The boys ranged from 2 to 9 years old at the time.

Heidi, who battled metastatic melanoma for about nine months, was a pastor of Assembly Mennonite Church in Goshen and a former teacher who wrote a Sunday school curriculum for Brethren Press.

Children participating in vacation Bible school at the Ohio church learned about the Mitch and Heidi Siemens-Rhodes family through Ed and Amy Leichty, members of their church who had known Heidi and Mitch for many years.

The VBS theme focused on letting your light shine to benefit others. The kids decided that the offerings they were bringing to Bible school should go to Mitch and the boys to help with expenses, including child care. Adults in the church contributed too when the congregation celebrated the end of VBS.

West Clinton Mennonite received a Sharing Fund matching grant to strengthen its support of the Siemens-Rhodes family. Another Sharing Fund grant went to the family’s home church, Assembly Mennonite, which also provided financial assistance.

Many people deserve thanks for this effort, including you. Your choice to be an Everence member makes possible the support provided by the Sharing Fund. Thank you for helping us all do better together.

This story comes from a recent grant application to the Everence Sharing Fund. In some cases, names have been changed out of respect for the privacy of the families

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Everence staff

Everence Sharing Fund

When you buy an Everence product, you become part of a community that provides financial support to those in need. It's called the Everence Sharing Fund, and it's one of the distinctive ways we support our members and their communities.


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