Four youth from Bread of Life Lutheran Church in Minot will be getting on a bus Sunday to depart for the 2012 ELCA Youth Gathering in New Orleans.
Alex Schoenberg-Carton and Erik Schoenberg-Carton, of Minot, and Kyler Roteliuk and Mara Roteliuk, of Sawyer, decided in November 2011 that they wanted to be a part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America "Citizens with the Saints" gathering from July 18-22. They also knew that if they wanted to attend they would have to raise money to go.
Numerous methods were discussed and several were used but the top fundraiser was home-baked cheesecakes. In total more than $7,000 was raised.
From left, Erik Schoenberg-Carton, Alex
Schoenberg-Carton, Mara Roteliuk and Kyler Roteliuk pose with two of the cheesecakes.
Unwrapping the cream cheese for the cheesecakes was just one part of the group project.
The preparation and baking of the cheesecakes was done in adjoining FEMA?trailers.
"Lots of cheesecakes were sold," Mara Roteliuk exclaimed.
"Lots and lots of cheesecakes," her sister Kyler echoed.
There were four different types of cheesecakes: almond, white chocolate raspberry, turtle and fudge. Each cheesecake sold for $30.
"Citizens with the Saints"
The 2012 ELCA Youth Gathering program is built around three core practices in which participants will be immersed before they come to New Orleans, while they are together in New Orleans, and, hopefully, in the community of their congregations when they return home. The core practices Discipleship, Peacemaking and Justice serve to practically clarify the Greatest Commandment: to love the Lord our God and our neighbor as ourselves (Matthew 22:34-40).
Approximately 40,000 youth are expected to attend the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America youth gathering July 18-22 in New Orleans.
"The favorite flavor was the turtle cheesecake," Alex Schoenberg-Carton said.
His mother, Michelle, made cheesecakes as a fundraiser for him when he went to Europe.
"She's been making cheesecakes for many years," Alex said.
The difference this time was that the cheesecakes were baked in the ovens of the two 12- by 30-foot FEMA trailer where Alex and Erik and members of their family reside. A convection microwave oven was also used for baking the cheesecakes. The "prep" work was done in an adjoining FEMA trailer by the dads.
The cheesecakes were "hot" sellers and more than 280 cheesecakes were sold to church members and families and friends. The youth are especially thankful to members of Bread of Life and Augustana Lutheran Church, who were so supportive with their fundraising campaign.
"They supported us just like we were their own kids," Kyler Roteliuk said.
The members of Augustana worshipped with the Bread of Life congregation for a time after the 2011 Souris River flood. Samples of the cheesecakes were available after some of the services to promote sales. Flyers advertising the cheesecakes were also distributed in various places.
"We got a lot of really strange looks at the grocery stores when we would buy them out of cream cheese," Rondel Roteliuk said. "You could almost read the minds of those people thinking to themselves 'What are you going to do with five cases of cream cheese?,' " the father of Kyler and Mara added.
"About 800 packages of cream cheese and 65 dozen eggs, plus 40 pounds of pecans, were purchased for the cheesecakes," Coty Roteliuk, Kyler and Mara's mother, added. Sweetened condensed milk, white chocolate chips, sugar and flavoring plus other ingredients were also used.
By the time the sales of the cheesecakes were completed the "crew" considered themselves somewhat "professionally trained" as cheesecake makers.
"I think that selling cheesecakes worked so well because it was a creative idea. There's so many different fundraising ideas that get used again and again. People really 'latched' on to this fundraising idea," the Rev. Taryn Montgomery said. Montgomery, who is pastor of Bread of Life Lutheran Church, in Minot, will be one of the seven chaperones on the trip.
"We've also received a donation of $1,000 from a youth group in Joplin, Mo., who had done fundraising to go to the youth gathering and for whatever reason are unable to go now," Montgomery said. "There's an inter-connectedness happening with all this that I think is the beauty of the church at work."
Pastor Christoph Schmidt and 31 youth from the Berthold/Carpio area will join the Bread of Life youth on the bus trip down to New Orleans.
Approximately 40,000 youth are expected to attend the event from across the country, including many from North Dakota.