While Don and Arlene Schumacher don't know exactly how they learned about Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch, they assume it was through their church, Our Saviors Lutheran Church in Hutchinson, MN.
They joined Our Saviors shortly after moving to Hutchinson in 1957, when Don became regional sales manager for a hybrid seed corn company.
"We were raising two young boys and times were tough," Don said. "I think at that time, I was making $125 a month. We didn't have a nickel to spend for ice cream."
As their finances improved, Don and Arlene started putting a little aside to support the Ranch, and in over thirty years of giving, they've never missed a year.
"There are a lot of good charities, but the Ranch seems to be closer to the heart of touching people," Don said.
Don was also drawn to the Ranch because he was adopted. He doesn't know the circumstances of his adoption, just that he lived in the Lutheran Home in St. Paul, MN, and was adopted when he was two.
"I'm happy the way things went. I was adopted to a very good family. My life could have turned out very differently."
Arlene also has a heart for the kids at the Ranch. She sees their support as an extension of her volunteer work. "We had two boys who were no trouble to raise, and we feel supporting the Ranch is an appropriate way to show our gratitude."
In addition to raising their boys, caring for their home, and in later years, working at 3M, Arlene has been a lifelong volunteer. She made hundreds of quilts to donate to charity with Our Saviors Quilting Group. She has also coordinated Honey Sunday events at her church to support the Ranch, and several years ago organized a drive at her church to purchase Christmas gifts for Ranch kids.
Don and Arlene's parents provided them great examples of being charitable. While they didn't have much when Don and Arlene were growing up, they were charitable in other ways.
"My mom and dad were very charitable in working for the church," Don said. "They didn't have a lot of money to give, but they provided labor and so forth... like contributing a chicken or pig to help feed the pastor."
The Schumachers take their giving very seriously and have toured all three Ranch campuses—in Minot, Bismarck, and Fargo.
"We've been able to get out there and see what's happening. We like to check things over. We like to contribute to helping these young people who need help so badly," Don said.
A few years ago, the Schumachers set up automatic withdrawals from their IRA to go to the Ranch. They like that they don't have to think about it every month.
"Even though it's the same amount of money," Don said, "it gives the Ranch something they can depend on. We don't have to write a check every month, or risk forgetting. We set up our church contributions the same way."
In addition, Arlene directs Thrivent Choice Dollars® to the Ranch, and has spearheaded several Thrivent Action teams for the Ranch.
"Years ago, I read that the Lord said if you give, you shall receive," Don said. "We started giving more and more, and we still weren't hurting. The Lord has blessed us a lot."
They were recently blessed to celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary, and when asked if he would choose her again if he had the chance to go back, Don said, "Oh, yes."
And then with a little chuckle, he continued. "I'm not sure if she'd choose me though. She'd probably want a little tune-up here and there."
This article was originally published in Ranch Voice: Winter 2021.
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