A "Coffeehouse of Hope" will be held this weekend to benefit local families facing the serious illness or death of a child.

The Trinity Praise Band will offer a Coffeehouse to support "Dylan and Gavin's Rainbow" ministry at 7 p.m. Saturday, March 9, at Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in Lehighton. The ministry was established by the Krum family of Lehighton to support families with a child facing a serious illness or medical condition.

"Lehighton is a small community. Everybody knows each other. We want to embrace the community with this event," said Brian Hoffner, lead singer and longtime member of the praise band. "All of the money raised is staying local, to help local families,"

The praise band offers a coffeehouse event once every other year to raise funds for a local cause. When it was time to plan this year's event, the Krum family quickly came to mind.

"I'm kind of drawn to helping children, especially those having a tough time. If there was anything we could do as a band, as a group of believers, we wanted to do it," said guitarist Stephen Schweitzer. "We feel very honored, as a band, to do this."

A freewill offering will be taken during the event to benefit the ministry. Baked goods, coffee and tea, and cooked food will be available and all proceeds will be donated to Dylan and Gavin's Rainbow ministry.

"Like all of our coffeehouses, we will ask people to contribute what they can," said Schweitzer. "All donations will go toward the foundation."

The coffeehouse will feature a casual atmosphere. Listeners are encouraged to come and go as they wish, staying for a leisurely cup of coffee and a few songs or staying for the entire set. Music will include contemporary Christian songs and a few pop culture selections that band members deem appropriate.

"We like to branch out and do new things. There's a lot of music out there to choose from," said Hoffner. "A lot of the songs that we perform are about the struggles in life and heartache. Jesus came for the broken-hearted, the folks who needed help. There are also very upbeat tunes. People are just as healed by the upbeat songs as they are by the songs that talk about heartache."

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, who was 15, passed away two years ago from complications of a rare childhood cancer, pediatric follicular lymphoma.

In a cruel twist, Gavin would be diagnosed with leukemia while the praise band was organizing the coffeehouse. Organizers turned their focus toward raising funds to help Gavin, but the 14-year-old who had worked so diligently to build his brother's legacy would also pass 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.

"With the new name of Dylan and Gavin's Rainbow, the whole idea was that their love would transform into hope for others," said Lora Krum, Dylan and Gavin's mother.

"It's a way that we can all share in this and help to reach as many people as possible. We're certainly grateful to the band and to Trinity for supporting this."

She noted that Trinity is one of many churches and other organizations in the area who have supported her family and their 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. Other 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.

"We received support from various organizations and individuals in the community. More than the material things, it's just knowing that people care when you feel like you're at your wit's end," said Lora. "This is a very frightening time for families and it helps to have more support."

After undergoing her sons' medical crises and receiving so much support from the community, the Krum family felt called to support others facing a similar situation.

They soon learned that the families they would help weren't the only ones to benefit it was a healing act for Krum family members as well.

"It helps us to help other people. That's true in any situation. Whatever you've been through, if you can help anyone else through that same ordeal it's helpful," she said. "We have a desire to let people know that we do know what it feels like. Sometimes it just helps to know that you're not the only one who's been there."

The Trinity Praise Band was formed 10 years ago to share the musical talents of Trinity's members during worship services. The band was founded by Rev. Robert Von Frisch, then the pastor at Trinity, who has since retired.

Rev. Von Frisch will join the band this weekend for the coffeehouse performance. Band members also include Hoffner (vocals and guitar), Schweitzer (guitar and background vocals), Susan Lovejoy (keyboard), Duane Reichard (percussion), Fred Reichenbach (bass guitar and background vocals).

Also performing will be guest singer Becky McFadden. McFadden has performed regularly as a guest with the Trinity Praise Band, and is best known in our area as the lead singer with "Becky and the Beasts."

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 office@zionlehighton.org [1].

Trinity Lutheran Church is located at Third and Iron streets in Lehighton.

The coffeehouse will take place in Luther Hall.