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Published on October 31, 2014

2 NortheasterN Iowa syNod | .nin.g Community Meals What started our years ago as an annual ree Thanksgiving meal or the community has turned into twice-monthly meals or anyone who would like to join in supper and ellowship with others at American, Jesup . Since June, the congregation has been oering the ree “Be Our Guest” suppers on the last two Wednesdays o the month, and 75 to 90 people have attended each meal. According to Pastor Dawn Peder- son, the Thanksgiving meals and Be Our Guest suppers are about good ood, good community and being together, especially or those who would otherwise have to eat alone. Many o those attending are wid- owed people who stay or an hour or more, and the majority are not afliated with American Lutheran. Meals are delivered to homebound Jesup residents, upon request. “The meals are or anybody who wants to come,” Pederson said. “We want people to sit down and enjoy ood and ellowship and not rush o to the next thing.” The meals are unded through a Thrivent Outreach Bridge Grant and generosity rom the congrega- tion. No ree-will donation baskets are put out, but Pederson says that some people will slip donations to her during a handshake. A committee o eight people plans the menus and evaluates how the program is going. Members sign up to prepare the ood, serve, and clean up. Fliers were mailed to every household in Jesup and through the area churches to invite people to the suppers. Children get involved by greet- ing people and oering assistance. All the ood is homemade, and a number o congregation members help behind the scenes by baking desserts at home. “We did a lot o praying and search- ing beore choosing this as what to do with our grant money,” Ped- erson said. “It’s been amazing and we’re having un doing it. As long as people keep coming and we have volunteers and can fnancially sup- port it, the meals will be ongoing.” Food Pantries On the ourth Saturday o every month, some 35 volunteers gather at American, Grundy Center, to unload the ood truck delivery rom the Northeast Iowa Food Bank. In about 20 minutes, dozens o boxes o canned goods, rozen ood, breads, and more are unloaded and set up in the church’s ellowship hall or distribution to amilies who come rom a our-county area. It takes only one hour or all the ood to be given away to the 100 or so people who come each month. American Lutheran began hosting the Mobile Food Pantry a year ago when leaders rom Bethany Presby- terian Church asked Pastor Luther Thoresen i American Lutheran would like to take over the project. Youth and adults rom American join a dozen volunteers rom Betha- ny to keep the ood pantry going. Volunteers wear name tags so the amilies can become amiliar with who is serving them. A local service group brings juice and donuts or everyone who comes to the pantry. Volunteers help carry the ood or people who are elderly or have dis- abilities. “When we planned to host the pantry at American Lutheran, we put our heads together and inten- tionally said we wanted to make the guests eel welcome,” Thoresen Ministries serve local communities << Continued from page 2 People who may otherwise eat alone enjoy home cooked ood and ellowship with others at the twice-monthly community meals ofered at American, Jesup.