For the past month, students at Ahwatukee Preschool have been collecting funds to be donated to the God’s Global Barnyard organization that aids rural families with purchasing livestock.

The organization is part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) Good Gifts program.

Ahwatukee Preschool students decided to participate in the program 10 years ago, and over the years it has built up. Money accumulated goes toward purchasing different animals such as pigs, chicks, goats, fish farms, bees, etc. The animals allow families to jump-start a business using the animals they receive.

Students at Ahwatukee Preschool took small cardboard barns to their homes a month before Easter to raise money to be donated, and brought them back during Easter chapel.

The God’s Global Barnyard fundraiser was also open to the entire congregation at Mountain View Lutheran Church, along with students from its Sunday school.

There were more than 300 barns collected.

“With one gift, we can help a family escape the cycle of hunger and poverty for good,” said Diane Fitzsimons, director of Ahwatukee Preschool. “It’s not that you are feeding them for one day, but that you are giving them something that will sustain them throughout their life and they can build off on.”

As a whole, the church and the schools were able to raise more than $3,200.

Ahwatukee Preschool staff member Janice Zimbelman said the fundraiser was primarily opened up for the children, but that they decided to allow the entire congregation to participate.

“We could raise more money and help more people that way,” she said. “I’m thrilled with the response because this will help hundreds of families. These are gifts that keep on giving.”

Ahwatukee Preschool plans to purchase 10 chicks, one fish farm, two goats, two pigs and two bee hives, Fitzsimons said.

“They can go anywhere from places in Africa to Haiti and sometimes in the states,” she said. “Mostly they will be going overseas. It’s all things that will help them become self-sufficient.”

Students of Ahwatukee Preschool showed tremendous excitement throughout the month-long fundraiser, Fitzsimons said.

“The students were so excited. They are starting to get that world view of where other people are, how they are doing, and how others are in more need than they are,” she said. “They were just so proud of themselves to be able to present it up on the alter at church. It’s having that physical part there that makes a difference for them.”

To celebrate the money that was raised for the God’s Global Barnyard, Fitzsimons decided to allow students to throw water balloons at her one at a time.

It was a way for students to have a fun experience after the hard work they accomplished, Fitzsimons said.

“It’s probably one of our biggest and most remembered fundraiser throughout the year.”

• Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.