A local coffeehouse held last weekend was an outstanding success for one local group, raising funds for a local charity and raising hope for local families.
The Trinity Praise Band's Coffeehouse of Hope was held Saturday with a standing-room-only crowd at Trinity Lutheran Church in Lehighton. All funds raised benefited "Dylan and Gavin's Rainbow," a ministry established by the Krum family of Lehighton to support families with a child facing a serious illness or medical condition.
"This was our largest crowd to date for Coffeehouse, and I was thrilled that they came to support this ministry," said Brian Hoffner, lead singer of the praise band. "I was overwhelmed. People really got the word out about this event."
While the coffeehouse was billed as a come-and-go, casual event, many audience members stayed for the entire two-plus hour set.
"The enthusiasm from the crowd was tremendous," said Stephen Schweitzer, guitarist. "When you see a full house, a full crowd, you get so energized. It keeps you going through the event. I was beyond thrilled."
Guests were encouraged to contribute a freewill offering during the coffeehouse, with all donations going directly to "Dylan and Gavin's Rainbow" ministry. Volunteers also sold coffee, tea, and donated baked goods to benefit the ministry.
A PowerPoint presentation featuring pictures of Dylan and Gavin Krum, and information about the ministry, played during much of the performance.
The Trinity Praise Band thanked the community for their financial support, noting that donations are continuing to come in. The group also received a $500 matching donation from Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, arranged by Thrivent representative and band member Susan Lovejoy.
Guest musicians for the night included Becky McFadden, band founder Rev. Robert Von Frisch, Jonathan and Matt Schweitzer, and Lora Krum, the mother of Dylan and Gavin Krum.
The band began preparing for this coffeehouse more than a year ago, hoping to raise funds for "In Dylan's Arms," the Krum family's first nonprofit organization geared toward helping the families of sick children.
Parents Lora and Dave and brother Gavin Krum, along with the support and guidance of their church, Zion UCC in Lehighton, began "In Dylan's Arms" after their son and brother Dylan passed away two years ago from complications of a rare childhood cancer, pediatric follicular lymphoma, at age 15.
Fourteen-year-old Gavin was also diagnosed with leukemia while the praise band was organizing the coffeehouse, and passed away late last year. The Krum's, along with the ministry committee, renamed the nonprofit to reflect the generous spirits of both young boys, calling it "Dylan and Gavin's Rainbow" ministry.
The organization helps local families facing a child's medical crisis by offering a cash gift with no strings attached. Some families use the funds to pay medical bills. Others families have used the money to pay for transportation costs while traveling between home and the hospital. The Krum family received similar gifts while facing their oldest son's illness.
"The community, the Praise Band and Trinity Church have warmed our hearts with their support to help others in this way and honoring the memory of Dylan and Gavin," said Lora Krum.
"We were overwhelmed by the wonderful turnout and are so grateful for the generous support that was given toward this ministry. The donations will really help us to reach out to many families during stressful times, and that's what's important.
"Although we don't want it to be true, and we hate that it happens, the hard truth is that sometimes children get really sick, and sometimes children die. No family should ever feel alone in times like that," she added.
For more information about Dylan and Gavin's Rainbow ministry, or to inform the Krums of a family in need, contact Zion United Church of Christ in Lehighton at (610) 377-1191 or firstname.lastname@example.org.