Local Nonprofit Supports Couples Seeking Adoption
Writer / Angela Cornell
Infertility is a painful reality that few understand unless they have dealt with it or know someone who has. For those who have been there, it’s a day-by-day, sometimes moment-by-moment battle. That was something Tobe Forshtay, founder of Raise the Dough, learned when he walked through it with some friends who struggled to have children.
Before the idea of Raise the Dough was conceived, Forshtay and his wife Jaclyn were leading a small church-based group with six young married couples in their home. Their time together consisted of growing together in friendship as they centered on the word of God and prayer for each other.
“That became the cadence of our time,” Forshtay says. “It was really sweet.”
As time went on, eventually couples began making prayer requests about growing their families. At first Forshtay had trouble taking those prayer requests seriously.
“To me those were ‘softball’ prayer requests,” he says.
It didn’t take long for children to come along. Then one of the couples, Kelly Morrow and his wife Heidi, discovered they couldn’t have children.
“It wrenched our hearts,” Forshtay says. “That was one of the most spiritually refining moments of my young adult life.”
After eight years of trying and failing, Forshtay broached the subject of adoption with them. Although they were open to the idea, the venture was too expensive for them to pursue.
“That didn’t sit well with me,” Forshtay says. “As a man of faith, for 25 years I’ve been reading, praying and focusing on understanding the heart of God,” he says. “I thought, ‘If money is the only thing keeping you from a growing family, shame on us.’”
From that moment on, Forshtay started pursuing funding options.
Around that time, he discovered what he refers to as the most under-celebrated holiday in the world – National Doughnut Day. For Forshtay, a self-proclaimed doughnut aficionado who has visited doughnut shops across the nation, this was a wonderful way to unite his love of fried pastries with his love of hanging out with friends and family.
“I started making doughnuts on National Doughnut Day and giving them away with hot coffee every first Friday in June since 2009,” he says. “We were just throwing a party.”
It was only a matter of time before Forshtay connected his doughnut tradition with his passion for helping his friends.
“It was like a light went off,” he says. “I realized we have a party and we have people coming. What if we used this doughnut-infused holiday as a fundraiser for Kelly and Heidi?”
Two months before National Doughnut Day in 2014, he approached them about sponsoring their adoption.
“Heidi looked up at me with the biggest tears in her eyes and she said, ‘Tobe, last night we were praying through this and we just didn’t know what to do. We said, “Lord, if you’re going to provide for us, will you show us the pathway you’re designing to help us adopt?”’” Forshtay says.
That National Doughnut Day was one of the best ones yet for Forshtay and his group of friends, family and business associates who came together to help with the event. Throughout that summer, they hosted a few other events and raised around $10,000. Through those efforts, Kelly and Heidi were able to adopt their son in October of 2015.
After that, Forshtay felt a burden to help more families. The next year they repeated the fundraiser for another family. In 2015 they started a 501(c)(3) organization, Raise the Dough, Inc. Since then they have helped 45 couples across the country and are currently committed to supporting five others, with many more on a waiting list.
Thanks to how much Raise the Dough has grown, Forshtay no longer makes the doughnuts himself. Instead, local doughnut shops provide the necessary treats to make the event possible. It has also grown to become a family-centric event with face-painting, cornhole and other activities, and has become a summer tradition for many people around Kosciusko County.
This year Forshtay and the rest of the volunteers with Raise the Dough are ready to go at it again, to raise even more money for couples in need on Friday, June 3. Keep an eye on their website, raisethedough.org, and on social media, for information on location and activities as the date approaches. To donate or volunteer, visit the official website. Anyone who knows of a couple wanting to adopt can reach out to email@example.com.