Would you give up something you want so that someone else could have something they need?
That’s the idea behind The Well Dressed Challenge, the brain child of Angela Craig, Women’s Ministries Director for the Northwest District of the Assemblies of God. Last year, when Angela and a group of women were working with children through Mission of Mercy in Honduras, they asked the people there how else they could help. What did the Honduran people in this village need?
“They asked us for water,” says Angela. “And suddenly it felt like we were working backward. We were there caring for children and loving the people, but they lacked something so basic. We needed to start at the beginning.”
So began The Well Dressed Challenge, a program asking people to give up things they typically spend money on and instead donate the money they would have spent to Living Water International.
“It started as a challenge for our women,” notes Angela, “so we worked with the idea of giving up shopping and wearing the same dress for a certain period of time (the Challenge lasts from October to October).” Clearly, wearing the same dress or outfit every day makes a statement, causing people to ask about the Well Dressed Challenge—and not going shopping provides a way to give funds.
“We wanted it to be something tangible,” said Angela, “not just writing a check. We wanted it to require a sacrifice of some sort.”
The idea caught on. Soon, it wasn’t just women, and it wasn’t just dresses. “In retrospect, maybe I should have thought of a different name,” jokes Angela. “Guys who want to participate will say to me, ‘Well, I don’t wear dresses. What can I do?’”
It’s really not about the dress. It’s about finding something that you want that you can give up so that someone else can have something they need. Angela, a self-confessed “non-shopper,” gave up Starbucks and getting her hair done at the salon. Another woman has placed an item from her home for sale on craigslist every day for the duration of the challenge. Angela’s son gave up chocolate milk and found people to sponsor him for each day he went without his favorite drink. A nine-year-old sold cupcakes and raised over 1,000 dollars.
You can join the challenge! Visit The Well Dressed Challenge’s facebook page, or take part in Living Water’s H20 Project for Lent. According to Angela, “the sky is the limit. It’s up to you to figure out what step you can take to make a difference.”