Her favorite color is purple, she loves animals, is a fourth grader at South Haven Christian School, and some of her favorite books are the Zoe’s Rescue Zoo series. She loves going to church at Hopewell Baptist Church in Springfield, Tennessee, to see her friends and learn about Jesus — and she’s also raised $28,000 selling hot cider on two weekends to help build four churches for the people of Haiti.
Kate’s family of six operate the Hancock Family Farm and market in Springfield. They grow and sell a variety of vegetables, flowers and livestock. Kate helps on the farm planting onions — not her favorite task, according to her mother — and working in their greenhouse with the flowers, which she enjoys. Kate also participates in the GA (Girls in Action) missions program at her church, and her mom and grandmother also teach GA.
Over the years, the market has partnered with Emmanuel Haiti, a ministry of nearby Mount Carmel Baptist Church in Cross Plains. They have sponsored and participated in their annual 5K run/walk fundraiser.
Emmanuel Haiti provides schools, housing and medical services to more than 600 orphans in Haiti. They also help build simple churches, replacing structures lost in 2016 from Hurricane Matthew. Mary Phil Illges, the founder and director, explains, “These churches are high up in the mountains. Right now, they’ve put up some poles covered with a blue tarp. Yet, on Sunday’s 100–150 people will show up to worship.”
Money for the Mission
Last fall, Kate approached her mom, Jodi, and asked if she could sell hot cider to raise money for the mission. Jodi is friends with Mary Phil and shared Kate’s request. Jodi noted, “We thought she wanted to fund a couple of things from the gift catalog.”
The Haiti ministry offers an online and print Christmas catalog where people can “purchase” gifts of goats, chickens and more to help the people of Haiti. The Hancock Family Farm keeps copies of the catalog on hand when they are available. “We assumed that Kate wanted to sponsor a goat or something from the catalog,” Jodi said.
But Kate had a larger goal in mind. She wanted to raise the $7,000 needed to build a church. The adults were skeptical, but Kate had faith. When asked how she came up with the idea to sell cider, Kate, who is on the shy side, simply said, “I don’t know.”
Even though the adults kept suggesting she aim for something “more realistic,” Kate was adamant in pursuing the goal of funding a church.
There was no strong social media push, but a few posts mentioned Kate’s hot cider fundraiser. The news spread. Jodi says, “We were amazed at the response.” In only two Saturdays, Kate exceeded her original goal and raised enough money for four churches. Many stopped by for a cup of hot cider and others contributed online.
Jodi says, “My husband and I just can hardly believe that people came out so readily to support Kate’s efforts. We just don’t have words. We’re not sure Kate understands the magnitude of what’s going on either.”
After a recent article appeared sharing Kate’s story, her friends at school tell her “Good job!” and “You’re famous!” Kate just smiles. When asked why she wanted to raise the money for churches, she replies simply, “So the children can learn about Jesus.” For others who want to raise funds to help those in need, she says firmly and wisely, “Trust God!”