August 14, 2001

The Strange Case of the Candy Bars

In late June this year, businessmen in Jackson Hole, Wyoming were approached by two children selling candy bars to raise funds for their home school group's trip to New York City. The children, a girl in her early teens and a boy about eight years old, claimed to be with "CHEA Homeschoolers," which no one in the area had heard of. Both children were clean-cut and very polite, but, when quizzed, they could not name any of the other home schoolers in their group.

The children sold fundraising candy bars for $2.00 a bar, and many people bought them to sponsor the trip.

On July 10, Mrs. Cindy Munger, a state home school leader with Homeschoolers of Wyoming (HOW), received a telephone call from Charlotte Campbell of Gethsemane Baptist Church in Idaho Falls, Idaho. Mrs. Campbell said that Gethsemane had received an envelope addressed to the church, with Gethsemane's address as the return address also. Inside were checks from several towns in western Wyoming and eastern Idaho made out to "CHEA Homeschoolers" for amounts ranging from $2 to $12. There was no note of explanation, and the backs of the checks were signed illegibly, with no account information.

Gethsemane Baptist returned those checks that had addresses. However, the mystery of what happened to the cash paid for candy bars has not yet been cleared up. Is there a group called "CHEA Homeschoolers" who actually went to New York? If so, why didn't they cash the checks written to them?

This story is a good reminder that, although giving to charities is an excellent practice, good stewardship and caution demands that donors always examine where their money is going.

If you have more information on this story, please e-mail us at info@hslda.org.