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‘Help others first’ driving force for local girl

12-year-old turns $5 into 3 years of philanthropy

ROCK FALLS – At age 9, most kids are busy playing outside with friends or video games at home.

Not Faith Sandrock.

At the time, Faith was thinking of a way to put in practice a lesson from her pastor.

“About 3 years ago, there was a children’s sermon at church and Pastor Bill [Sullivan] gave me $5 and told me by the next week, I should have done something to make that bigger,” said Faith, now a 12-year-old Montmorency student.

“My mom called the Whiteside County Health Department and asked them what they had a need for, and they said any baby supplies.”

The next week, Faith had used the $5 to buy blankets and diapers, and asked others to donate, too. At the end of the month, she brought her collection to the health department in Rock Falls.

Three years later, the effort has grown. October is Keeping Babies Safe and Dry month at Faith’s church, New Life Lutheran in Sterling. The congregation collects supplies all month – diapers, baby wipes, clothing, even handmade blankets.

Faith also puts a flier in the church’s weekly newsletter outlining what supplies are needed. When she gets monetary donations, she and her mom buy supplies.

Brigette Vasquez, a case manager at the health department, shares them with parents in need.

“It’s just amazing,” Vasquez said. “Only if she knew. She probably has a little idea of how many lives she touches, but only if she knew ... we work with low-income people, and they don’t always have things to provide for their children.

“I just tell them, here is this seventh-grader who has done this now for 3 years, and I can’t even explain to her the people that she’s helped.”

Pam VanderVinne, also a health department case manager, said the amount of supplies this year was “fantastic.”

“They come in here, they don’t have diapers for their babies, they don’t have onesies and wipes, the things that most of us take for granted when we have babies,” VanderVinne said. “There were cases of diapers this year. Before it was just packs; this time it was cases and cases of wipes and the cute little clothes.”

Vasquez says she makes sure to tell those who receive the supplies where they came from.

“I’ve had moms even start crying because of how happy they were to be able to have something for their child,” she said.

Her pastor says Faith is a “committed, focused, Christian young person.”

“It’s been wonderful as her pastor to see her understanding of the faith and the whole concept of learning to give,” Sullivan said. “I think a lot of us have been re-learning the joy of giving in our congregation.”

Kathy Sandrock said she was proud of her daughter for coming up with the idea, and “our church, New Life Lutheran, is very gracious, and the numbers have increased each year.”

Faith deflects praise, and is shy when it comes to talking about her efforts. She just wanted to take that $5 and use it to help others, she said.

“Pastor Bill always tells us we need to help the less fortunate and help people in our community first.”

To help

Call Pam VanderVinne at the Whiteside County Health Department, 815-626-2230, ext. 1213, to donate to Faith's effort.

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