(Photo:Facebook/New Wine Church International)
A Columbus, Ohio-based pastor is raffling his limited edition Hummer truck with the hopes to potentially raise $140,000 to benefit organizations within his city and abroad that include those that help fight human sex trafficking, provide social services for children, and a school for orphaned children in Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Pastor Charles Bond of New Wine Church International initiated the effort, "Passion Project," after he met a woman who was kidnapped and abused for three years before finding refuge in Rahab's Hideaway, a rehab organization for youth in Ohio. Part of the proceeds will go to help the project.
"I heard her story and I wanted to do something. When I planted the church, I told the congregation I wanted our works to speak louder than our words so I thought, 'What could I sacrifice and give up?' so I decided to give up my only means of transportation, my vehicle," said Bond.
His "fusion orange" Hummer H2 SUT will be raffled on Halloween during the church's "trunk or treat" event that Bond hopes will have a huge turnout, regardless of rain or shine.
Bond paid off the truck in full in January, however, he said the needs of benefit organizations that choose not to seek government grants to underwrite their operations was his trigger for his desire to donate the truck. He said he has been called crazy for doing so.
"I am crazy! Crazy about our children, because you're only as valuable as the problems you're willing to solve for someone else," said Bond. "It's a Limited Edition Luxury H2 Hummer SUT to some, but to me, it's an opportunity to give something tangible for something intangible like hope, peace and safety to someone's child."
New Wine Church International, which began last March with 12 members in Bond's living room, has grown to over 150 congregants. They have decided to invest their limited resources into putting out the word about the giveaway, hoping to sell 7,000 tickets for $20 each in order to promote their efforts.
"This week, we took $1,000, almost our last $1,000, and we decided to run a radio ad campaign, so hopefully attention to the raffle will pick up leading to Thursday," Bond said.
He shared that the raffle has garnered much attention but feels that "people's enthusiasm has not translated into much ticket sales."
"If we don't raise the amount that we're hoping to raise by Thursday, we're going to raffle $1,000 for people that bought tickets then we'll relaunch the campaign later to give ourselves more time," he explained.