Olathe girl’s tea party raises more than $6,000 to dig wells in Africa
It all started when 10-year-old Madison Crook saw the plight of African children on a television program.
Her mother, Susan Crook, said Madison came to her looking for ways to help, and after praying for about a month, the two of them decided to throw an American Girl Tea Party.
“(Madison) said, ‘Mom, I feel like God is telling me that I should do something to help those children get water,’” Crook recalled.
After considering ideas like a lemonade stand or selling stuffed animals, the two decided that they wanted to try to raise a little bit more money, and the idea for the party just suddenly came one day, Crook said.
The party on Sunday raised more than $6,200 that will be donated to the Life Today program on the Trinity Broadcasting Network as part of the show’s religious-based appeals to build wells in Africa to aid the people there.
Crook said the 250 people who attended the party enjoyed peach tea, strawberry lemonade and music while the children who attended brought their favorite doll along. The party at the Bell Cultural Events Center at Mid-America Nazarene University in Olathe also included decorations in hot pink and black polka dots. The event also featured silent auction items donated from numerous area businesses.
Crook said she had attended several teas and brunches while speaking in front of national audiences, but had never tried to organize one.
“I was just sort of winging it,” she said, adding she promoted the event mainly through e-mailing some of her friends. “I thought if we did this party, what if only 20 people come?”
But the people signed up, 50 at first, and then finally up to the full capacity of 250 and beyond — Crook said she had to create a waiting list for all the people who wanted to attend.
After getting such a large response, Crook said she would like to make the event an annual one for people who want to help.
She said the first sign of hope came when she spoke to Karen Phillips, Bell Cultural Events Center coordinator, who provided some good news.
“We provided the use of the facility for a very minimal fee,” Phillips said, adding that she helped set up the event after learning of the nature of the party.
Crook said she took the use of the facility as a sign that she and her daughter were doing the right thing.
“That was like the first affirmation,” she said.
The eventual response to the event surprised Crook, which she said included a film crew from the Life Today program, which filmed part of the event. She also received a telephone call from First Lady Laura Bush’s office thanking her for her efforts and indicating they would be sending a letter of thanks.
Crook said she was inspired by Bible verse Jeremiah 29:11, which states how God has a plan for people to give them “hope and a future.”
It’s a thought that resonated with Crook and her daughter, and inspired them to share those notions with others across the globe who are drinking stagnant water that sickens them and taints their food supply.
“These people in Africa have no idea of their future of hope,” she said.