Mission sale will benefit orphanage

There will be a Mission Craft and Gift Sale from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Nov. 4 at St. Mark's Lutheran Church, 2499 N. Helen St., North St. Paul. The proceeds from the sale will be used to help build the Margaret Rauk Memorial Kitchen and Dining Hall at the REACH School and Hostel (orphanage) in Bapatla, India. The sale, which will be held in Rees Hall, will feature booths filled with holiday crafts, jewelry, baked goods, candies, hand-made items and home-based businesses such as Creative Memories and Mary Kay Cosmetics.

The REACH School and Hostel is under the direction of Kusuma Paul and her husband, Victor, a retired bishop of the Lutheran church. When the Pauls were at Luther Seminary in St. Paul during the 1970s, Margaret and Palmer Rauk, longtime North St. Paul residents and members of St. Mark's Church, befriended them. When the Rauks learned that Kusuma's mother had orphans living with her, they volunteered to help lay the groundwork for the monetary support of an orphanage. Other members of St. Mark's church also committed to the orphanage's support and the home school began in the early 1980s with three children. It has now grown to 230 children who live at the orphanage, 30 staff members and 100 day students.

The school is located in a very rural southern part of India about 12 kilometers from the Sea of Bengal. Not all of the children at the school are orphans; some families place their children there because they can't care for them. Schooling and hot lunch for the day students cost about 25 cents a day, while live-in children are cared for on approximately one dollar a day. The children get medical care, food, clothing, shelter, a Christian education and lots of love. Individuals sponsor the children, not an organization, and 100 percent of the funds go directly to the school. St. Mark's members sponsor about 70 percent of the students, with people from several churches throughout the country sponsoring the remaining children.

The current fund-raising efforts are focused on building a much-needed kitchen and dining hall. More than 900 meals a day are prepared in an outdoor kitchen and the children eat sitting on the ground. The three-year effort to raise money for the building program also included buying the land for the addition.

Now deceased, Margaret and Palmer Rauk spent more than 20 years working in support of the orphanage. Their daughter, Sela, and her husband, Peter Mogren, are continuing the Rauks' dedication and are spearheading the current fund-raising efforts. For more information about the REACH School or the craft and gift sale call St. Mark's Church at 777-7451 or email Sela at smogren@comcast.net.

Comment Here