Investment in Dodge Center

Investment leader George McNeilus is moving Dodge Center, Minnesota, church members full steam ahead. At the beginning of each year, McNeilus distributes an idea . He also leads by example, by maintaining several projects of his own.

Can collecting
In addition to the usual “exercise” afforded by can collecting -- walking, bending, stomping -- some members have added more muscle to this project. McNeilus and other Dodge Center members who have soft drink vending machines at their businesses collect cans their workers discard and give all or part of their profits to Investment, as much as US$400 a year.

Coupon redemption
Some Dodge Center senior citizens scan newspapers and magazines and clip the coupons to place in a large box at church. Church members sort through the container for coupons they can use, and then donate the savings to Investment.

Corn sales
Several members plant Indian corn and sell it in the fall to people who hang dried corncobs on their garages and front doors for holiday decorations.

Unclaimed treasures
McNeilus reproduces flyers for church members who have items they want to sell. If items are large, he advertises them in the newspaper. All or part of the sale price goes to Investment. He received a piece of equipment that his cousin no longer needed at his cement truck plant, and advertised it for US$5,000, but he received no interest. Maybe I’m not charging enough, McNeilus thought. People must not think it’s worth much. When he added US$1,500 to the price, he got a buyer in short order.

Flea market
Every spring Dodge Center investors conduct a flea market on property located near a major highway, and the activity attracts the hundreds of people who pass by each day. Even so, McNeilus’s secretary designs flyers to post all over town and an eye-catching ad for the newspaper.

Appliances, lawn mowers, furniture, and other large items are collected and brought to the church on Saturday night to be sold on Sunday.

McNeilus likes to have another drawing card to get people to stop, so he rents a colorful canopy and pitches it on the lawn. The canopy provides shelter for the people and merchandise as well. Rain has fallen before the sale and afterward, but never during the sale!

Besides offering the usual items found at garage sales, members set up several food stands. Some members sell vegetarian sandwiches and snacks. Pathfinders and children’s departments often sell lemonade or other beverages.

Sometimes people donate old items that they are surprised to learn are antiques. “I usually ask a non-Adventist woman who frequents flea markets around the county to help,” McNeilus explained. “She helps us set our prices for antiques and for ordinary items, so we get what the items are worth.” All of this planning and hard work usually adds between US$2,000 and US$4,000 to the Investment treasury.

Thurman C. Petty, Jr.
© 2006 General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists