Food pantry installed near St. John church
By James Grob, firstname.lastname@example.org
The congregation at St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church in Charles City went to work Sunday, and gangs of Lutherans in yellow T-shirts could be spotted all around town, doing some good.
Dozens of church members participated in 13 community service projects, one of which was the installation of a “Blessing Box” — a little free pantry — which is now located on the east side of St. John Lutheran Church along Clinton Street.
The day of service, called “God’s Work, Our Hands,” was organized by Susan Leeper, the wife of St. John Pastor Russ Leeper, and the service projects were all suggested and implemented by members of the congregation.
St. John belongs to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), which started “God’s Work, Our Hands” years ago, meant to be a service day that all ELCA churches can take part in. Each year the ELCA designates a day and encourages its member churches to “serve their neighbor by completing a service project.”
The “Blessing Box” pantry is similar to the one currently in operation at the high school. Leeper had been told that there is a need for one in the part of town where the church is located.
“We have a lot of people who walk through the church parking lot headed across the river to Kwik Star or Hy-Vee or somewhere,” she said. “It’s basically a place where we can keep it stocked and anyone can stop, 24-7, and pick up something they need to help them.”
While the food pantry at the high school is specifically geared toward students, Leeper said that the pantry at St. John is geared more toward families, with items such as food, diapers and cleaning supplies, among other things.
Some of the other service projects Sunday included clean-up along Shadow Avenue north of town, clean-up at some parks and at Sportsman’s Field, quilt-making for those who need quilts, mulching and other care to trees in the school district, and cookies — baked, frosted and delivered — for people who just could use a cookie.