By Ray Balogh
WINONA LAKE — In 2015, Tobe Forshtay founded Raise the Dough, Inc. to financially help one couple adopt a child. Since then the ministry has blossomed into a major local benefactor with a vision of “saying yes” to 100 families by the end of 2024.
The 501(c)(3) organization’s stated mission is “to raise funds for adoption because no child should be without a parent.”
But it isn’t just about the money. Raise the Dough’s benevolence has evoked countless smiles, laughs and tears of joy as families welcome the blessed addition of lonely children nestling into their “forever homes.”
“When we consider what God is doing under this organization, we’re overjoyed,” said Forshtay. “The support garnered from our community serves to fuel the work and we are thankful to have so many wonderful stories to share.”
2019 was a signal year for the faith-based organization. During the year, Raise the Dough received its first grant, held its first Sons and Daughters Festival in Winona Lake and recorded its first radio commercial.
The goals for 2020 are ambitious. The organization aims to raise $256,000 and help at least 15 families during the year, hoping to clear its waiting list that averages nine to 10 families who have requested support. The average newborn adoption in the United States costs nearly $34,000.
Part of the funding will come from the charity’s “600 Supporting Families” campaign, which seeks a donation of $185 (or $15.50 a month) from each family to finance 18 adoptions.
The bulk of Raise the Dough’s finances comes from three annual fundraisers:
In conjunction with National Doughnut Day, celebrated the first Friday in June each year, Raise the Dough conducts a fundraiser by selling doughnuts.
This year the event, scheduled to occur Friday, June 5, has been modified to comply with the parameters of the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown. According to the organization’s website, www.raisethedough.org:
“This year, we want Doughnut Day to span beyond Kosciusko County. So join us virtually on National Doughnut Day. It just takes five simple steps.
“Step One: Visit your favorite doughnut shop or even try making doughnuts at home.
“Step Two: Take a photo and post it online — tag #raisethedough — link to www.raisethedough.org/donate and share it with your friends. Get creative in your post.
“Step Three: Go online and make a donation to Raise the Dough. Small and big donations all make a difference.
“Step Four: Enjoy your doughnut and pray for current and future families.
“Step Five: Challenge a friend or family member to join in the day. Maybe you have friends and family in another state. Invite them to join you in celebrating National Doughnut Day. The beauty of this year’s format is that we can expand the borders of our reach. Let’s bring adoptions and fostering to people’s minds and raise funds for those who need support.”
Sons and Daughters Festival
Last year’s festival drew nearly 1,000 guests in the park of The Village at Winona for an evening of children’s activities, food vendors, first-hand testimonies and worship music. This year’s festival is scheduled for Friday, Sept. 18, on the Tabernacle Lawn in downtown Winona Lake.
Raise the Brush
To commemorate National Adoption Awareness month in November, Raise the Dough sponsors an art sale at The Gallery at Rua in Warsaw. Artists from around the country provide works of art put on display and sold, with proceeds going to the organization. This year’s fundraiser is scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 5.
Donations may be made online or mailed to Raise the Dough, Inc., P. O. Box 256, Warsaw, IN 46581.
For more information or to volunteer, visit www.raisethedough.org or www.facebook.com/raisethedoughinc.