How could you not want to give?

That’s the outlook Jake Walmer has, a lesson taught to him by his grandfather’s lifetime of faith-inspired giving which has left a lasting legacy in Myerstown and beyond.

Read More: Carl Wenger’s lifetime of faith-inspired giving leaves indelible mark on Myerstown community

Walmer is a sales manager at Wengers of Myerstown, the business his grandfather Carl Wenger started in 1958. Walmer grew up alongside Bryan Kendall, line-dancing with him as a group of young guys in their teenage years and doing church events together.

Kendall died in a farming accident on Saturday, April 27. He is survived by his wife of nine years, Alyssa L. (Patches) Kendall, and his sons, Easton B. and Tucker L. Kendall.

Efforts sprung up following Kendall’s passing to help provide for the family – to help keep the farm, Villa Dale Farm in South Annville Township, going as the family mourned.

A GoFundMe started by another friend of Kendall’s, Landon Allebach, has now surpassed $92,000 raised for the family.

Read More: Fundraiser started for family of Bryan Kendall sees tremendous response

The Wenger Foundation was started, Jake said, out of a simple reason: “I simply don’t know how not to give,” Carl was known to say. And for Jake, the reason for the Wenger Foundation now throwing its fundraising weight behind the effort is equally simple.

“They were a farming family, we are a farming business,” said Walmer. “It was just a need that had to be met in the community.”

Both Jake Walmer and his mother, Rose Walmer, who is president of the foundation, stressed that they in no way wanted to take attention away from the GoFundMe effort and the other support drives which may be ongoing. That spirit of giving – that fulfillment of the Biblical mandate to care for the least among us – is central to the foundation’s mission, especially when it comes to the local agricultural community.

“Based off that scripture and based off what my grandpa has raised our family on, how could you not want to give?,” said Jake Walmer.

It was with that spirit in mind that, while speaking at the foundation’s annual praise dinner on April 30, he announced a $10,000 matching grant program which would run until June 30. So far, more than $25,000 has been raised, not including the match, and the checks are still coming in.

The money raised will be forwarded to the Kendalls’ church, Lebanon Valley Bible Church in Fontana, and the church will be able to work with the family through any situations they have.

The foundation hopes that with its reach – its brand name recognition in the farming community across the region – it can help reach those who might be less familiar with donating online. It has also gotten the word out through ag news powerhouse Lancaster Farming, which has drawn the support of out-of-state donors. The foundation is helping extend the radius of giving outside local Lebanon/Lancaster area farming communities.

That community, Jake Walmer said, is one that relies on each other when things go wrong.

“We’re in a very blessed community in Lebanon and Lancaster,” said Walmer. And while other folks in the community are helping out in so many ways – from lending assistance to Villa Dale on its excavators to its automatic feed systems to its corn planting for this year – the Wenger Foundation is focusing on what it does best.

“We’re not equipment operators or in a direct field of the diary industry,” said Walmer. “I know how to help fundraise and that’s our arm and that’s what we can help with.”

The Wenger Foundation is helping collect funds for the Kendall family through June 30. To contribute, make checks payable to the Wenger Foundation and mail them to: The Wenger Foundation, PO Box 409, Myerstown, PA 17067. In some fashion, make sure to notate “Kendall Family Fund” on either the memo line or in an enclosed note.

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Davis Shaver is the publisher of LebTown. He grew up in Lebanon and currently lives outside of Hershey, PA.


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