Pastor Ron Glusenkamp with, from left, Marian Kaiser, Norma Baker and Carol Pohl.

Special to the Green Valley News

If you step out of the heat and inside Desert Hills Lutheran Church you might wonder whether Christmas has arrived early.

Several Christmas trees fill the open space to help promote the “Christmas in July” fundraiser with a goal of collecting $7,000 to $10,000 over the weekends of July 17-18 and July 24-25.

Interim Pastor Ron Glusenkamp said it’s part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s plan to help out rural health clinics and hospitals in 60 countries battling COVID.

“In 2020, the ELCA collected $32 million as part of the Lutheran Disaster Response program,” Glusenkamp said, with $24 million going to fight hunger and $8 million to help with disaster recovery.

Tongue in cheek, he calls this fundraiser “a spiritual alternative to Amazon Prime.”

The funding also goes toward providing safe drinking water in different parts of the world where it’s regarded as precious.

Norma Baker, long-time Global Mission Committee member at Desert Hills Lutheran and committee member Marian Kaiser said they’re “lifting the fundraising up this year because of COVID. We’re asking people to give whatever they can.”

Committee member Carol Pohl knows how to decorate and made the church’s foyer feel like it’s December.

Glusenkamp and committee members are asking residents to donate whatever they can to reach their local goal. Cash or checks made be brought or mailed to Desert Hills Lutheran Church at 2150 S. Camino del Sol, Green Valley, AZ 85622. Checks should be made out to “DHLC Christmas in July.”

To donate by credit or debit card on Desert Hill’s website go to and click on the “Giving” tab. Select your gift and enter your information.

Contact Green Valley News freelance reporter Ellen Sussman at