Wedding ring auction aids hunger relief

STANWOOD — Keith and Nola Russell, a couple whose support of the Heifer Foundation dates back to the organization’s earliest days, were the winning bidders in a wedding ring auction, with proceeds going to help end hunger and poverty.

Heifer International is a nonprofit charitable organization that is based in Little Rock, Ark., dedicated to relieving global hunger and poverty.

The Russells, both of Stanwood, met after the deaths of their former spouses. They once again found happiness in life by spending time with each other.

Tears of joy welled up in Nola’s eyes when Keith slipped on her new wedding ring, after winning the auction.

“I think it’s the most beautiful ring I’ve ever seen,” Nola said. They’ve been donating to Heifer since the 1940s.

Erik and Carla Schneider of Bellevue auctioned off the ring to further their deep commitment to ending hunger and poverty, with the hope that it would inspire others to give in some way.

The proceeds from the online eBay auction were donated through Hope Equity, a new online program that supports the work of Heifer International. The winning bidder in the auction got to choose which country, cause or initiative their money supports through Hope Equity.

“We didn’t just buy it for the ring,” Nola Russell said. “We bought it for the story.”

Keith Russell grew up in the Church of the Brethren hearing about the work of Dan West, founder of Heifer International. West used the Church of Brethren network to galvanize support in the early days of his movement. The Russells’ story now comes full circle as they split their winning bid of $4,501 between two Hope Equity funds, the Disaster Recovery Fund and Touch of Jesus Orphan Fund.

Carla Schneider decided to auction off her wedding ring after reading a statistic that one child dies every five seconds from hunger. The Schneiders are a modest couple whose hope was that their story of auctioning off the ring would inspire others to help end hunger and poverty.

“Years down the road somebody might come across something of value to them and think of what they could do with it to help end hunger,” Erik Schneider said.

The Foundation’s new initiative, Hope Equity, uses an online social networking community to create long-term, sustainable giving to end hunger and poverty while caring for the Earth.

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