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Generosity in action: Thrivent clients, others lend a hand

Smiling girl is surrounded by stuffed animals.
Madison Hora, of Marion, Iowa, made weighted stuffed animals to provide comfort.

Across the country, Thrivent clients are using Thrivent programs to amplify their impact as they live generously in their communities. Here are few examples of projects that have been done.

Stuffing out anxiety

MARION, IOWA—At times, Madison Hora struggles with anxiety. Family medical issues, a dog bite and a car accident all have contributed to these feelings. A counselor recommended the 14-year-old get a weighted stuffed animal, which can have a calming effect and provide comfort.

Instead of spending money to buy one, Madison made her own with a bear she already had. She opened it up, unstuffed it, filled it with rice, and stitched it up again. And it worked!

This spurred the idea of leading a Thrivent Action Team to create and give weighted stuffed animals to area schools and churches to hand out.

“This way we can help kids who need them and can’t afford them,” Madison says.

She purchases new stuffed animals (used ones may contain allergens) and rice, and she does all the seam ripping, stuffing and resewing. To date, Madison has made and donated at least 50 animals.

“My passion is to help people,” she says. “And I feel that this is going to help a lot of kids.”

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Creating happy birthdays

SANDSTONE, MINNESOTA—Birthday cakes can be an extra when finances are tight. In conjunction with the town’s Quarry Days, Becky Gaede, along with her granddaughter Jenna Gaede, led a Thrivent Action Team to collect and pack birthday bags, filled with cake mix, frosting and candles. More than 70 bags were delivered to the Family Pathways food shelf to distribute to families with children celebrating birthdays.

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Adopt a bell

SAN CLEMENTE, CALIFORNIA—Marcelle Nuoffer raised $1,445 to support the mission of the nonprofit organization Handbell Musicians of America—Area 12 in providing education and scholarships. Nuoffer’s Thrivent Action Team created a set of 61 bells that could be adopted, with various bells having different “adoption fees.” Bells were displayed during the three-day Bells on the Beach event, and then sent to the purchaser.

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Packing school backpacks

LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY—With school supply prices escalating, members at Redeemer Lutheran Church were even more determined to pack and deliver 72 backpacks to students at a nearby elementary school. Marcia Hermann formed a Thrivent Action Team to collect donations of supplies and cash. People were generous, and with creative shopping for additional items, the team reached their goal.

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Personal care delivery

CASSELBERRY, FLORIDA—Lillian Christian wanted to help Hearth and Home of Florida, Inc., which provides housing to people experiencing homelessness. Ms. Christian created a Thrivent Action Team with family and friends to create and deliver 46 personal hygiene baskets filled with personal care necessities for the 33 men and 13 women currently living in one of the nonprofit’s homes.