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Charity Carnival - Quarters, Dollars Add Up To Thousands
Aubrey Mendonca, 6, of Jamestown had already made a stop at the face painting booth and still had to pick out her prizes after winning some games at the Riverbend Ranch Charity Carnival on Saturday. See additional photos, Page A2. Marg Jackson/The Leader

At 25 cents a game, a dollar to try and win at the cake walk and just a few dollars for a plate of food, it took a lot of people to raise $11,000.

But that’s exactly what happened on Saturday at the Riverbend Ranch charity carnival. Organized by the Kjeldgaard family, teen leader Kate said they had gotten approval for matching funds up to $12,000 from some donors so the $11,000 they made on Saturday was doubled to $22,000 for the Agape Children’s Ministries.

Riverbend Ranch is at 4500 River Road in Oakdale and the carnival was played out under sunny skies and a light breeze, perfect for playing games and enjoying family fun while helping those in need.

Kate, 17, was a little chilly but braving the dunk tank with a smile.

“I just keep telling myself, ‘another dollar for charity’ every time,” she said as another patron took aim at the target to send her into the water. “I know it’s exactly what God would want. Every dollar we raise is getting matched up to $12,000 so that’s a real blessing.”

Friends of the family came from many corners of the state and beyond its borders, some traveling from Nevada to support the effort.

“We know them from Spirit West Coast,” said Michele LaHue, attending with husband Jim of Carson City, Nevada, noting they wanted to support the Kjeldgaards in their charitable cause.

Carnival hours were 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and the Kjeldgaard family started the one-day charity carnival in 2007, with proceeds that year earmarked for an orphanage in Liberia. This year’s charity is the Agape Rescue Home for Street Girls, which opened in Kenya last September. Kate said the family had supported a home for boys for many years, but felt the time was right to help the girls, providing funds for a home in Kisumu, Kenya.

Parents Eric and Lisa Kjeldgaard oversee the carnival, with all eight children playing a role and friends and other family members also coming to help out.