The Gift of Presence
For nearly two weeks, those of us in the Saint Paul Area Synod have been blessed by the presence of ou[...]
On a beautiful late-summer day in Minnesota, four Lutheran churches from New Brighton and Mounds View – Abiding Savior, Atonement, Christ the King, and Cross of Glory – teamed up with Ralph Reeder Food Shelf and Cub Foods to plan a large food drive, hot dog fundraiser, food packing, and card-making event for September 13 – God’s Work. Our Hands. Sunday.
The goal of the event was to collect as many of the “top 15 food shelf items” as possible, as well as provide weekend supplemental food for low-income children in the Mounds View school district. Ralph Reeder Food Shelf distributed close to 400,000 pounds of food and served nearly 17,000 individuals in 2014. According to the Metropolitan Council, research has shown suburban poverty is on the rise in the Twin Cities and there is always a big need at the beginning of the school year. Ralph Reeder expects these numbers to continue to rise in coming years.
Over 120 volunteers from the different congregations worked side-by-side at Cub Foods to collect items, help sell hot dogs, bag groceries, and pack a trailer full with donations. Other volunteers organized incoming food and packed bags for the SnackPack program at Ralph Reeder.
Through the generosity of shoppers, we raised $1201.11 (hot dog sales and bagging donations) and brought in 1,080 pounds of food. Cub Foods donated all of the hot dogs and also pre-packed 125 Cub Cares bags that were purchased.
At Ralph Reeder, with an added Thrivent Grant of $2000, volunteers were able to pack 750 SnackPacks for low-income children. Those SnackPack bags will provide enough supplemental weekend food for 17 of our most in need children.
This event highlighted the work of ELCA congregations in listening and collaborating as needs increase or change in our communities. We are a church that is committed to service to our neighbors and working to change our neighborhoods for the better. God’s work in the world needs all of our hands and all of our hearts, especially as poverty shifts to new areas.
The Rev. Peter Weston Miller
Atonement Lutheran, New Brighton