Pastor's challenge turns into coats for teens

December 15, 2008 5:09:02 PM PST
High school students who lost a lot during Hurricane Ike got a warm surprise Monday, all thanks to a pastor and his challenge to "pay it forward." He gave church members $100 and one woman turned it into much more than that. [SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

Although Karen Anderson is the one who took up her pastor's challenge, she gives her God all the credit, insisting he stretched a dollar in a way no one else can.

Just in time for another temperature drop, Ball High School students wrapped themselves in warmth, and found out just how far $100 can go.

Five weeks ago, Anderson accepted an unusual challenge at Grace Presbyterian Church.

"Our minister stood up in a sermon and held up $100 bill and said, 'Anybody who wants to get a $100 bill to do something for God, step up and take one'," she said. "God nudged me to do that."

On the drive home, that nudge got stronger.

"It was like God just kept saying, 'Coats for kids, coats for kids'," she said.

They're coats to replace the ones Hurricane Ike destroyed.

"It's something a lot of people need because of the water, most peoples' closets and clothes got damaged," said 17-year-old Ashley Hanson.

The Houston grandmother wrote friends, who wrote their friends and asked for donations.

"We have $36,000 in donations is five weeks and I think people just really wanted to show they cared about Galveston," said Anderson

People from all across the country, as far away as Hawaii, sent checks and a non-profit group in Arlington, Virginia, helped Anderson purchase the coats for just $17 each.

She bought 2,130 coats, enough for every Ball High School student.

"It's amazing," said Hanson. "It just feels really good. It just feels like people really care."

They care and know how to work a $100 miracle.

From coats to space heaters, families in Galveston still need quite a lot of help. If you would like to find out more or volunteer, give Help four Galveston a call. The hotline number is 888-425-5439.

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