Moline Fund Raiser

Little did Kelly Moline know—when she got woke up with a headache on October 9, 2007, and, like all ranch wives, went on about the day's activities anyway, which included saddling up and gathering cows—the chain of events that she would set off, albeit involuntarily. The headache turned out to be the warning signs of a brain aneurysm stirring around, and when she got bucked off later in the day, that speeded up what almost certainly would have happened anyway. Several days later—to the horror of her husband, mother, siblings, and six small children gathered around her hospital bed—Kelly Allard Moline died on October 11, 2007, at the age of 40. Left standing alone were her husband Chris and their six children: Colie 13, Jake 12, Victoria 10, Josie 7, Ian 4, and Colt 2.

In the meantime, Linda Grosskopf had gone on sabbatical, and her chair was competently filled by Tami Jo Blake. Tami Jo suggested on November 9, 2007, to the paper's nationwide readership that they raise once again raise college money and Cooking in the West author Susan Metcalf put out a call in the January 18, 2008, issue of the paper for kid-friendly recipes. The recipes poured in from all over America, and pretty soon people were suggesting that a cookbook be made and sold to raise yet more money to fund the six kids' upcoming college expenses. Within a month, Susan had more recipes than she knew what to do with. Linda Grosskopf, a sucker for such projects, assumed the project and immediately wrangled her sister Nancy into helping.

They opened a checking account, and the first deposit was made in May 2008. They checked out options for getting a cookbook published and chose Morris Press Cookbooks. That was the only easy step. What followed was one helluva lot of pure WORK: sorting through 600 recipes to choose 400 of the best “kid-friendly” ones (basic food staples, no fancy ingredients, simple & complete directions, and ending up with real food); typing all 400 recipes into special software; and proofreading painstakingly. On October 8, 2008, the first order was sent—for 3,124 cookbooks. They arrived on November 14, and the first shipping party was held November 20 in the lobby of the Public Auction Yards with volunteer help in a sincere effort to meet the Christmas delivery promise. A second shipping party was held December 1 and a third on December 11.

By then it was obvious that more cookbooks could be sold if we had them, and Linda came up with the goal of making $60,000 ($10,000 per child) free and clear when it was all said and done. A second order for 1,210 more cookbooks was made on March 20, 2009. Those books arrived April 20, 2009, and a fourth and final shipping party was held. The last book was sold and the last deposit was made on April 15, 2010. Net Income—$62,470. Divide that by six children, and you get a lovely $10,000 apiece plus pocket change. Not bad!

The Ranch Kids Cookbook is what happens when the worst that life has to offer (the death of a mother with six young children) intercepts the best that life has to offer (the outpouring of help from a large number of complete strangers).