Published on October 31, 2014
2 NortheasterN Iowa syNod | .nin.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 oering 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 afliated 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 oering 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 beore 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.