On Sunday, July 22, the congregation of Dryland UCC gathered to present Nazareth resident, Home News columnist, and Nazareth High School Athletics coach Andy Weaver a check for $3,500.
Weaver lives with Cerebral Palsy and must use a wheelchair. However, when his old wheelchair stopped working, he started a fundraiser on Facebook to help offset the costs of a new one. A new wheelchair can cost as much as $60,000. Knowing that Medicaid will not cover all the costs of the new chair, Andy hoped to raise at least $12,000 through his online campaign.
And then Richard Durn of Dryland UCC saw the campaign on Facebook. Durn, who had never met Andy before, knew the congregation had to do something to help.
“We felt this was a good thing to do as a local mission,” he said.
Durn, who prepares dinners and buffets for the church that range from luau themes to international culinary adventures, planned a dinner fundraiser for Saturday, July 7. For a few dollars, residents could get their fill of cooked vegetables, stuffed chicken breast, and more.
Members of the congregation came together to help the Weaver family. But the donations and goodwill did not stop there. Donations came from as far away as Arizona and, following the dinner, Grace Lutheran Church in Belfast donated $1,000.
“We pray it will not take too long to get [Andy] his new set of wheels,” Grace Lutheran Church said in a statement.
“I could not believe how this thing grew,” Durn said.
In less than two weeks, from the church’s dinner fundraiser and phone donations, Dryland UCC had raised roughly $3,500, helping Weaver surpass his initial goal of $12,000.
Surpassing the goal meant Durn had to put together another meal. This time, in celebration. On July 22, Durn and members of the Dryland UCC congregation presented Weaver and his family with their donation over a buffet of breakfast favorites like French toast, home fries, and strawberry snow, a dessert recipe from Finland.
“What they have done for us is amazing,” said Tom Weaver, Andy’s father. “It is very much appreciated.”
“You will never be forgotten for the kindness that you have shown,” Andy Weaver said in a thank you card to the congregation and all who have donated. He called them “his new friends.”
“I guess that means I have to be a Nazareth fan [instead of] a Liberty fan,” joked Durn.
If you would still like to donate and help Andy raise all of his funds, checks can be made out to Andy Weaver and mailed to him at 25 Charles Avenue, Nazareth, PA 18064.