2012 was a year of great things: Lionel Messi was paramount in winning the FIFA world cup, Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her 60th anniversary as queen of Great Britain, and Pentacles of Pride International was born.
Pentacles of Pride International is a Pagan run public charity that offers free pentacles to all. Its focus is on bridging the gap between Pagan groups and individuals by offering a unified vision of a future of shared support. Founded in 2012, over the past years the organization has grown and has reached beyond borders and has touched thousands of lives. However, this reach wasn’t always available. The first days of Pentacles of Pride resembled a child learning to walk. There was trial and error, but nothing that the wonderful volunteers and board members couldn’t handle. These hiccups taught those involved that the work being done changes lives and it’s worth the steep learning curve.
In Spring of 2012, Sheldon Slinkard, the founder of the organization sat in his apartment thinking about all of the people that had asked him where to get a pentacle or other faith symbols. There was a need in his community and that formed a world vision of support. There was a population in need and an organization needed to step up to the call.
“Honestly, when I started the nonprofit, I had no idea what I was doing. The best friend I had for months was The Idiots Guide to Non Profits and I still felt like an idiot when I started reading those government documents,” said Slinkard, “but, really, when it came down to it, it didn’t matter the amount of work involved. When there is a need that is not being addressed all we have is inequity and that’s something I can’t stand for. Everyone deserves a helping hand. Pentacles of Pride offers people the capability of receiving something that seems simple, but it is much more than that. It’s a symbol of hope, safety, and connection.” explained Slinkard.
The organization had humble, but swift beginnings. August 2012 the initial website was formed. At this time it was a ‘.com’ and riddled with clunky graphics, but despite this, it had a purpose. The organization became an official nonprofit in Arkansas in November 2012 when the first pentacle request was sent.
Those who have ordered a pentacle know that the delivery addresses are all handwritten. This practice wasn’t strategic, but financially necessary.
“Handwriting the letters cut down costs by 78%. As a nonprofit, you make sacrifices. Sure, we may have hand issues later in life, but it’s worth it.” Slinkard admitted with a chuckle.
As more requests were met, a sea of messages came to the organizations inbox. They varied in their language and writings, but they shared a similar note. Each letter explained how wonderful it made these people feel when they saw the handwritten letter. At this point 600 requests were completed, so there was no turning back. Now, handwritten delivery addresses are a staple of the organization.
“I never thought that something so simple as handwriting addresses would be so powerful. The community really felt touched that we had done this,” admitted Slinkard. “Now, we do this because we want everyone to have that feeling. That we care enough to write out each address.” said Slinkard.
The leadership of Pentacles of Pride has changed face throughout the years. Created while Slinkard was at university, members of the leadership team fell in the same category. As you can imagine, organizational duties for many slowed during finals testing. Yet, no matter the stresses of life, there has always been a person or group that steps up to help and continue the mission. The current Executive Director is the familiar, Sheldon Slinkard and the Associate Director is Ashley Nicole Hunter.
Hunter came to Pentacles of Pride Summer 2014 after she relocated from Memphis, Tennessee to Conway, Arkansas. A member of the Conway Pagan Pride Day committee, she was ecstatic to hear about Pentacles of Pride and its mission. She had a passion to learn and to support not only the Pagans in her town, but also the community at large. These passions led to her appointment on the Executive Board in Summer 2014.
“I just want better for the Pagan community.” Hunter revealed.
Today Pentacles of Pride has touched every corner of the world. Other groups have championed for Pentacles of Pride, mentioned them in blogs, videos, radio ads, and the like. The Cauldron online radio station is a continued supporter of the organization offering free radio advertisements. Frequent mentions on Youtube channels such as Cutewitch772 are also present.
“It’s so cool to be surfing the web just for fun and stumble upon a post or video that is championing for Pentacles of Pride. It brings the biggest smile to my face to know that we are truly helping people.” Slinkard said with a large smile.
The message of the group has been passed around from brother to sister, friend-to-friend, and stranger-to-stranger. Recently the message has been passed to the United States Armed Forces. A continual bulk order is provided for the Fort Sill, Oklahoma army base. Over 200 Pentacles of Pride are hand packaged and sent every 2 months to this base.
This level of outreach is fully supported by the Executive Board and donors like you. The organization does not have an official public office, but operates at local venues in Conway Arkansas. All donations go directly to supplies and pentacles to be sent. It is the hope of the Pentacles of Pride team to one day touch every heart and bring support to all in need. This is only possible through the generous donors and wonderful volunteers dedicated to the cause.
Pentacles of Pride has experienced many changes in its life, but its mission remains: To provide pentacles to anyone in need – Pentacles of Pride, Share Pride in Style.