Blue Jays, baseball fields and building Bautista

How one Compassion sponsor is helping to build a baseball field!

Albert Pujols DR Trip

Each year, Lea Patterson from Grande Prairie, Alberta, likes to choose a gift from Compassion’s gift guide to support. Usually, she chooses something relatively small that she can afford on her own, like a goat or a toilet.

But last year, she heard about Giving Tuesday—the day that follows Black Friday and Cyber Monday as a day for giving instead of spending.

“I looked at the total of my Facebook Friends,” says Patterson. “I have over 300. What if I got everyone to donate $100? Then we could buy something bigger!”

That’s exactly what Patterson did. In last year’s gift guide, she read about families in Northern Uganda who were still reeling from the long-term effects of the Lord’s Resistance Army. So she challenged her Facebook friends. She asked for 20 people to donate $100 each to build a home for one of these families.

“Within a week, I had the funds we needed to build the house,” says Patterson.

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Lea with her Compassion boy, Adrian, from Ecuador

This year, Patterson wanted to do it again. In the gift guide, she read about a church partner in the Dominican Republic who wants to build a baseball field for the children. These children live on a batey—an old sugarcane plantation. Many of the families are Haitians who were brought in to work on the plantation when it was still operational. There is little infrastructure and few educational opportunities for children to get out of poverty.

With the Blue Jays’ incredible season, Patterson thought this would be an excellent way for her friends to come together to help children.

“I thought with all the hype of the Jays, I could generate interest easily,” says Patterson. “We could be building the next José Bautista. To make a little boy’s or girl’s dream come true, that was exciting. Once I started reading about the area we were building this field in, I just knew it was a good choice.”

Boys playing baseball on a baseball diamond

This year, she decided to make it easier for people to give by suggesting a $50 donation from 14 people. She would post about it on Facebook once in the morning and once in the evening with an update of how many more people she needed. Within three days she raised the full amount! She and her friends were also able to purchase baseball equipment with extra money raised.

Patterson had people send her cash or cheques payable to Compassion, which she mailed all together to the office. She also included a letter with the names, addresses and gift amount of every donor so each would receive a tax receipt in the mail from Compassion.

God surprised Patterson with the response to her act of faith, and she encourages others to try it out.

“Think big,” she says. “Last year I didn’t think I could get enough people to make the $2,000 donation, but your friends and God will surprise you.”

If you haven’t yet, check out this year’s gift guide and dream big about how God could use you to change the life of a child in poverty!

Written by: Amber Van Schooneveld

Amber Van Schooneveld is the Managing Editor for Compassion Canada. She is the author of Hope Lives and loves to help people learn more about Compassion's programs.