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'A child's life is more precious than my jewelry'

July 12, 2010

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"A child's life is more precious than my jewelry." That's what a donor told me on the phone when she called my office saying she wanted to donate funds to help famine victims in the Horn of Africa in 1984. I have never forgotten it.

Money was tight, she said, so she asked if she could send her gold jewelry to Mercy Corps instead. I suggested that she sell the gold to a jeweler and send a check. A couple of weeks later a check arrived for $800.

In 2003, a good friend invited me out to lunch to discuss "a matter of importance." As we sat down, he pushed a small velvet covered box toward me and asked, "Could Mercy Corps use this?" It was a beautiful diamond ring his ex-wife had returned to him. I was stunned. "What am I going to do with this? Just a lot of grief tied up in it," he whispered. The donation was very substantial, as it turned out.

In 2005, a longtime high school and college friend visited my office and gently placed a beautifully designed gold ring on my desk. It was studded with a diamond and two rubies. It was an engagement ring. "This relationship didn't work out but, for me, there is a redemptive side to it," she said. "It will touch lives for good through Mercy Corps."

With this in mind, I opened a long-locked desk drawer at home this morning and examined gold jewelry I had stashed there years ago. My 17 year old daughter, Kylie, took a picture of it with her cell phone. Two hours later, after a visit to a nearby jeweler, I returned with $918. Mercy Corps will receive another donation.

The price of gold is up! Perhaps you have some "hidden treasure" that will do a world of good in a hurting world. Think about it. After all, a child's life is more precious than silver or gold. Another chapter in creative fundraising ...