Mackenzie Holmberg is raising money to buy a cow for the Come, Let’s Dance orphanage in Uganda, which is shown in a photographic display by Tracie Patterson that is hanging on the wall of the Christian Heritage School’s office. Mackenzie is planning to visit the orphanage this month.

Photo by John F. Russell

Mackenzie Holmberg is raising money to buy a cow for the Come, Let’s Dance orphanage in Uganda, which is shown in a photographic display by Tracie Patterson that is hanging on the wall of the Christian Heritage School’s office. Mackenzie is planning to visit the orphanage this month.

Christian Heritage 8th-grader raising money to help orphanage

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If you go

What: Easter egg fundraising event for Ugandan orphanage funded by Steamboat-based organization Come, Let’s Dance

When: 4 to 6 p.m. Friday

Where: Christian Heritage School, 27285 Brandon Circle

Donations

Eighth-grader Mackenzie Holmberg is asking participants to donate $1 for every Easter egg colored; additional donations also accepted

To help: Those who can’t make it Friday but would like to help can mail contributions in care of Mackenzie Holmberg to Come, Let’s Dance, P.O. Box 770172, Steamboat Springs, CO 80477, or drop off donations — or items including clothes, toys, hygiene products and school supplies — at Christian Heritage School.

Online

Learn more about Come, Let’s Dance online at www.comeletsdance.org. A new site at that address is under construction, but a link to the old site, with all pertinent information and photos, is available.

— An eighth-grader’s fundraising effort is highlighting the increasingly strong relationship between a local nonprofit group, Christian Heritage School and a Ugandan orphanage.

Christian Heritage student Mackenzie Holmberg, 14, hopes to raise $2,500 in the next couple of weeks to provide a milk cow, its shelter and some feed for an orphanage in the Ugandan village of Nansana, not far from the country’s capital, Kampala. Come, Let’s Dance, a faith-based nonprofit organization founded in Steamboat Springs, sponsors the orphanage that has spurred numerous local fundraising and assistance efforts in recent years. Many of those efforts are funneled through Christian Heritage School.

From 4 to 6 p.m. Friday, Mackenzie is hosting an Easter-egg-coloring event at the school’s cafeteria. People of all ages are welcome, and Mackenzie is asking participants to contribute $1 to her cause for each egg colored.

She knows it will require a lot of eggs to reach her goal. Mackenzie planned to “boil eggs all night” Wednesday with her youth group at Anchor Way Baptist Church, said her mother, Lani Holmberg.

Mackenzie said she has collected about $100 in contributions so far.

“We’re going little by little, but hopefully we’ll get there,” Mackenzie said Wednesday.

She’ll get to see the orphanage later this month, when she travels to Uganda for about 10 days with her grandparents, Chuck and Marcia McPheeters of Lawrence, Kan.

Lani Holmberg said Mac­kenzie had the chance to travel anywhere in the world as a gift from her grandparents, and she chose Uganda — and initiated the fundraising project — on her own.

“She’s raising money because they need a cow,” Holmberg said simply.

Mackenzie said she “always wanted to go to Africa” and became interested in the efforts of Come, Let’s Dance after a presentation at Christian Heritage.

“I’m really excited to see the kids and the orphanage,” she said.

Lauri Bradt teaches fourth and fifth grade at Christian Heritage and adopted her son, Clinton, from the orphanage in Nansana. She said Mackenzie’s project is “a great idea” and fits with Come, Let’s Dance’s efforts to provide the orphanage with crops, livestock and, ultimately, self-sustainability.

Bradt acknowledged the growing relationship between Christian Heritage and Come, Let’s Dance. She said Come, Let’s Dance is in the process of buying land with two buildings that could be converted to a school for the orphanage in the next year. That school could be a sister school to Christian Heritage, Bradt said.

She told Mackenzie to travel to Uganda with no expectations and to have a mind-set of service. Bradt said the poverty levels and living situations could be shocking.

“It’s very overwhelming what you see — kids living in feces and starving to death with no money,” Bradt said. “The need is overwhelming, but at the same time, they have so much more hope than we have here.”

In addition to Friday’s event and monetary donations, Mackenzie also is collecting items such as clothing, hygiene products, school supplies, toys and plain black shoes — which children need to attend school — that she and her grandparents will take to Uganda.

Donors can drop off items at Christian Heritage School on Brandon Circle, west of Steamboat off U.S. Highway 40. Mackenzie leaves for the trip April 16.

— To reach Mike Lawrence, call 871-4233 or e-mail mlawrence@steamboatpilot.com

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