Funded! This project was successfully funded on April 28, 2013.

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We help families in crisis by offering them shelter in our own home. Teach empathy, dispel stereotypes, and connect the Bible to today.

The Story

The Best Dinner I Never Ate will be a strong tool used in our ministry to help people climb out of crisis. Beautiful illustrations chronicle the story of how the Prentice family stumbles into helping the homeless when mom Lori delivers their Thanksgiving dinner to a homeless family in need. Upon discovery of the family, parents Jay and Lori immediately drop off their kids with the grandparents, four and a half hours away, and drive straight back, missing a second turkey dinner so they could clear out and convert their spare room into an apartment. About three years later, the first family they helped is still in the apartment they saved money for while staying with the Prentices, and now several more homeless families follow the same pattern. Lori posts an upcoming vacancy in the spare room hoping to find a homeless person to take in from the cold. When multiple people respond, looking for a place to stay, Jay and Lori move out of their bedroom, bust a hole in the wall to put in an external entry door, and go searching for another homeless stranger to bring in to the warmth. They give her their own bedroom and bathroom, and call her family. There is a surprise ending in this story, involving the Prentice children, and it will make you want to grab a copy and a  tissue box.

Publishing The Best Dinner I Never Ate has potential to do so much more than just printing a children's book. It can truly inspire others. Here is a picture of one of our therapy horses working her magic. Therapy horses can often heal a person hurt by society, as they learn to rebuild trust and reenter society as a caring citizen.

Lori and Lacey (RIP), our minihorse, bring joy to residents at a local nursing home.
Lori and Lacey (RIP), our minihorse, bring joy to residents at a local nursing home.

The week one of the newspaper articles about our family was published, I had a strange knock at the door. It was the mudroom door; the one used by family.

It was the little girl who initially inspired me, three years earlier, to give away my family’s Thanksgiving dinner and drive an extra nine hours to fix up our spare room so her family could have a place to stay. Her family lived with us for a month and a half, long enough to save up a security deposit for a permanent place. I remember her being fairly shy and having a sweet disposition. When she came in this time, practically skipping toward me, she was exploding with a gigantic smile.

“I have to do current events every week. I got to share our story!” she announced.

This is the current event article shared in the classroom by one of the little girls we have helped.
This is the current event article shared in the classroom by one of the little girls we have helped.

This joyful little girl was anonymous in the article, but she chose not to be anonymous amongst her classmates in school that day. She chose to share how some strangers took them in and made them family for a month. She didn’t seem nervous; she didn’t seem scared. She wasn’t worried anyone would judge her. She had been shown enough care and support in her family’s time of need to feel not only confident in her homeless past, and but because of the love involved, she was proud of it (OK, now that tugs at my heartstrings).

Our family has found something that calls to us- a cause that makes them jump into this Kickstarter adventure with both feet. Many of the press releases, marketing materials, blog posts, and the like, have been touched by one of our homeschooled children in some way. Their homeschool lessons involve learning all aspects of book production—from book design to publicity, to content and getting reviews. I explain that when done well, this book can inspire others to action. It can inspire others to ask, “Whyyyy…do you do that???”

Our family's answer to the very important people who have asked that question? “Jesus.”

Our story has been featured on TV, in newspapers, and on the radio. Click the links to watch, read, or listen to what others are saying about this story!

http://www.ksee24.com/news/local/Oakhurst-Homeless---JWI-201339071.html

http://www.sierranewsonline.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=1769:what-would-you-be-willing-to-do?&Itemid=467&highlight=WyJob21lbGVzcyJd

http://www.sierrastar.com/2013/03/20/61803/hope-for-the-homeless.html#storylink=misearch

http://ilikegiving.com/story/51771e751ce97rn

http://www.madera-county.com/index.php/boardmain/topvideo

Inga Barks interview on KMJ:

Why should I back this project?

Sometimes in our lives, we come across people who try to make a difference in some way. Our family often searches for days for people we hear of  that need a warm place to stay. When we find them, we welcome them into our own home. We post to Facebook groups, comb homeless hotspots like soup kitchens and donation centers, and have gone to the media for help in finding the vulnerable, the destitute, the forgotten. We make time in our schedules and make room in our hearts to help homeless people feel like family. We hope that sense of belonging gives them the understanding that they are important contributors to our community.The Best Dinner I Never Ate will communicate to other families and children how just one family can make a difference in the lives of others less fortunate than themselves.

If you believe that every person is valuable, that every person deserves someone to look out for them, then backing this story sends that message loud and clear. We can use it as a tool to help our efforts. It teaches we can stand up for each other, maybe experience a little chaos, maybe become a little bit uncomfortable in our own lives because of helping others, but we’ll be better people for it. I've been amazed by the support I've received up to now, phone calls, emails, and mentions in the media. My network only goes so far, but together our reach is tremendous. So if you believe in this vision and want to see it bless others, please share it. Tweet it. Facebook it. Email it. Post it on your friends walls. Print this info and tape it to people's doors....or backs. "I don't believe in all the misery but the beauty that still remains." (Anne Frank) You can help bring to the surface the beauty of painful situations.

The Book's Progress

The Best Dinner I Never Ate is already written! We also have the cover illustration. Our illustrator, Brock Nicol, is ready and waiting to finish the illustrations as soon as the book is funded.

Experience

Jay and Lori Prentice have published before—about three year’s worth of “Winning in Education” magazine that ended up with 64,000 monthly readers at closing. We often describe our marriage by saying Lori is the race horse and Jay is the stage coach driver.

At the printing press with our first copy of Winning in Education Magazine.
At the printing press with our first copy of Winning in Education Magazine.

How does Kickstarter work?

Anytime over the next 30 days, you can make a pledge to support the publishing of The Best Dinner I Never Ate. The rewards to the right can help you decide the level of support that works for you.

We are committed to making this project successful, but if our project doesn’t met its funding goal of $14,000 by the deadline, then nothing happens – you will not be charged and we get zero, zip, zilch. No book. When we do reach our target, your card or PayPal account will be charged, and we’ll deliver the reward that you selected.

This necklace is made by homeless people who want to work but can't find a job or are underemployed. They are paid for their labor and are grateful at the step towards self-sufficiency.
This necklace is made by homeless people who want to work but can't find a job or are underemployed. They are paid for their labor and are grateful at the step towards self-sufficiency.

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Risks and Challenges

We have faith that a lot of people giving a little goes a long way. But one risk is that we may not meet our Kickstarter goal. While we are doing everything possible to make sure we achieve our goal, the smart move is to consider all possibilities. No one will get charged if that happens. The way we’ve been ensuring our success is by telling our story to others. For some crazy reason, when people hear it, they are over-whelmed with good vibes. They want to help, and they share our facebook page, The Best Dinner I Never Ate, read our blog posts and complete strangers go out of their way to help by editing the story, sending press releases or SHARING THE VIDEO. With the response we’ve had so far, we are truly excited by this project. We are humbled by the way that our story is touching people and give credit to the Lord, we are just vehicles, He is the light. We pray that any “success” or money (if any) will not only not go to our heads and change us, but will be put to use in a way pleasing to Him.

Other risk- timing of rewards. I normally tend to use best-case scenario when I judge how long it will take to complete things. It’s the ADHD factor- we like to zoom through projects at break-neck speed, and sometimes forget not everyone works that way. So because I am aware of that limitation, I tried to put the delivery dates of the rewards to be a little farther off than I expect they will happen. I don’t want people angry or upset that their product didn’t come, I’d rather have people understand upfront that we are new at children’s book publishing and there could be a learning curve or a missed off ramp making me pass up the printers because my favorite song came on and I was too busy boogying down to recognize I accidentally skipped over my destination and oh, where am I? Isn’t that the Grand Canyon??? I’ll make sure I have my GPS working and my kids and I will keep the music off when I get close to my destinations. We promise to communicate any unforeseen issues (the printer takes the summer off??) or whatever comes our way. We’ve done lots of research, so hopefully surprises will be minimal. Thanks for believing in us!

FAQ

Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.

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  • Pledge $1 or more
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    6 backers

    • Melanie will feed Trigger a carrot for his work as a therapy pony that helps traumatized children trauma build trust. • Tim will bottle feed a baby goat for you, but he will make sure when he takes the baby goat to the nursing home they are ready to eat since some of the residents really enjoy feeding them. • Ginger will collect free range chicken eggs and give one to a guest who is trying to get back on their feet. Guests who stay with us in the winter often don't have money for food. Tell which you want, pony, goat or chicken or $3 takes care of all three.

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    4 backers

    An e-book copy of The Best Dinner I Never Ate in the format of your choice: ePub or PDF. If you belong to a church in financial distress that serves needy children, message me and I will send this to your youth pastor for free. (tell us ePub or PDF)

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    2 backers

    • 12 Christmas cards and envelopes with illustrator Brock Nicol's scene of the Innkeeper turning away Joseph and Mary with the bright starry night and manger in the distance. Inside message reads, "May the spirit of Christmas stay with you throughout the year." • An e-book copy of The Best Dinner I Never Ate. (tell us ePub of PDF)

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    7 backers

    A soft cover copy of the picture book. This is it, folks, our family's true story of how we bring the homeless into our home, and how it has irreversibly changed us. Shipping anywhere in the continental US. • An e-book copy of The Best Dinner I Never Ate.

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    Teacher Package #1: A PDF of the lesson plans that complement the book. These lessons will teach children empathy for others, how to live out the Bible in everyday ways, and give them a greater understanding of how to love their neighbor. The lesson plans include graphs, printables, venn diagrams, writing prompts, connections to the Bible, and comprehension activities for grades 1-2, 3-4, 5-6. You will also receive a PDF of the story itself.

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    7 backers

    • A necklace or keychain made by a homeless person trying to get on his/her feet. It's the necklace Lori wears in the video- a leather strap with a copper penny and cool green bead with a military dog tag stamped, "KEEP YOUR COINS; WE NEED CHANGE." The creator of the necklace gets paid for their labor, we make small efforts to try and make sure those workers are not doing drugs, since we do not want to enable a problem and are not a drug-rehab facility of any kind. Encourage self-sufficiency with this gift. (specify keychain or necklace) • PLUS an e-book copy of The Best Dinner I Never Ate. (tell your choice ePub or PDF)

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    18 backers

    A signed soft cover picture book. This is it, folks, our family's true story of how we bring the homeless into our home, and how it has irreversibly changed us. Shipping anywhere in the continental US. • An e-book copy of The Best Dinner I Never Ate.

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  • Pledge $40 or more
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    6 backers

    Teacher Package #2: One soft cover copy of The Best Dinner I Never Ate. One packet of lesson plans that complement the book and include 30 workbooks for children. These lessons will teach children empathy for others, how to live out the Bible in everyday ways, and give them a greater understanding of how to love their neighbor. The lesson plans include graphs, printables, venn diagrams, writing prompts, connections to the Bible, and comprehension activities for grades 1-2, 3-4, 5-6. You will also receive a PDF of the story itself.

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    8 backers

    All items above- • e-book, • signed soft cover book, • 12 Christmas cards, • necklace or keychain made by a homeless person, • carrot for Trigger, OR bottle feeding for Mischief the baby goat, OR and a range-free egg collected for a guest in need staying here.(Specify necklace or keychain, ePub or PDF)

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    10 packs of 12 Christmas cards and envelopes. Enjoy Illustrator Brock Nicol's scene of the Innkeeper turning away Joseph and Mary with the bright starry night and manger in the distance. Inside message reads, "May the spirit of Christmas stay with you throughout the year." shipped to the same address (think independent gift or book stores, gifts at Easter or Christmas for those kids in your life, or copies for kids in your church youth group.) Retailers can order wholesale for a little bit less money after this Kickstarter campaign is completed, but they won't be able to say they were part of bringing The Best Dinner I Never Ate to children across the world by crowdfunding our publishing campaign. Includes shipping within the US.

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    1 backer

    New! Pledge $100 between now and the end of this campaign, and you can get 3 free 45-minute massages if you are in the Fresno, Oakhurst, Bakersfield or Los Angeles areas.

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    2 backers

    Philanthropist Award! For those of you who believe in this project, want to see it published, but don't want 10 copies of this book. You will still get one signed copy of the book, one necklace, and one pack of cards.

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    3 backers

    10 SIGNED copies of The Best Dinner I Never Ate all shipped to the same address (think independent gift or book stores, gifts at Easter or Christmas for those kids in your life, or copies for kids in your church youth group.) Retailers can order wholesale for less money after this kickstarter campaign is completed, but they can't grab signed copies easy that way, and they also won't be able to say they were part of bringing The Best Dinner I Never Ate to children across the world.

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    10 necklaces or key chains (I'm wearing one in the video!) shipped to the same address (think independent gift or book stores, gifts at Easter or Christmas for those kids in your life, or copies for kids in your church youth group.) Retailers can order wholesale for less money after this kickstarter campaign is completed, but they won't be able to say they were part of bringing The Best Dinner I Never Ate to children across the world by crowdfunding our publishing campaign. Please specify how many are necklaces how many are keychains.

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    Anywhere in California, Member/s of the Prentice family will give a Book Talk, reading the picture book and sharing their experiences with the homeless. Complete with country swing dance about the homeless sung by Melanie and danced by Tim and Ginger. Can be tailored to your group's target audience. The estimated delivery month can be either before or after the book is published, we can take preorders from your group at that time.

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    1 backer

    You may not have a need for a speaker, you can only use so many copies of our book, but you really want to back our cause. One of every item listed above (pack of Christmas cards, signed book, necklace made by a homeless person), and a hand-written thank you note mailed to you signed by the entire Prentice family. Your name or your congregation's name will be listed in the book as a supporter. Thank you.

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  • Pledge $1,200 or more
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    Anywhere in the continental US, members of the Prentice family will road trip to your church, school or organization and give a Book Talk. They will read the picture book and share their experiences with the homeless. Complete with country swing song and dance to a song about the homeless sung by Melanie and danced by Tim and Ginger. The estimated delivery month can be either before or after the book is published, we can take preorders from your group at that time. You will receive 100 newsprint copies of The Best Dinner I Never Ate.

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Funding period

- (30 days)