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Pastor Kim Lee Brown (from right) talks with parishioner Debra Dalton, who helped organize a surprise food drive this spring in honor of Brown’s 50th birthday. The parish sought to donate 50 bags of food in her honor to local food pantries, including Hall Township Food Pantry. A picture of Brown delivering that donation is included in the new 2013 fundraising and awareness-raising 'Calendar of Giving' published by Project Success of Eastern Bureau County Inc. and Valley Photo. NewsTribune photo/Amanda Whitlock
What to give the person who has everything
Hall Township Food Pantry and Project Success of Eastern Bureau County Inc. have a couple of gift-giving suggestions:
* A unique calendar: The “Calendar of Giving” can be purchased for $10 at Hall Township Food Pantry, 500 N. Terry St., Spring Valley; Valley Photo, 115 E. St. Paul St., Spring Valley; or from Project Success board members.
* A candygram: For a $50 donation, Hall Township Food Pantry will send a “humorous” certificate to the donor or a giftee, along with a bar of European chocolate. One $50 donation will furnish the pantry with all of the following: 12 cans of green beans,10 pounds of potatoes, seven sweet onions, five packages of stuffing, four bags of dinner rolls, two gallons of milk and one frozen turkey.
For more information, call Jan Martin at (815) 663-2085.
On a Saturday in early March, Pastor Kim Lee Brown of St. John Lutheran Church on the hill, west of Hollowayville, was teaching children about the sanctity of Communion when something strange started happening.
“We’d been talking about food, the blessings of food, and how Jesus feeds us, and we need to feed other people,” Brown recalled.
She also had recently delivered a lesson on the miracle of Jesus feeding 5,000 people, beginning with very little food, when her Saturday class was interrupted by parishioners bringing bags of food into the church, asking Brown where they should leave the donations for the food drive.
“I said, ‘What food drive?’” Brown recalled. She searched the church newsletter and notes from meetings to see if she had forgotten something, and though she found nothing, bags of food kept arriving, filling the hallway at the church’s entrance.
The next day, she learned why: Parishioners had organized a food drive in honor of Brown’s 50th birthday.
“Pastor is a very giving person,” said parishioner Debra Dalton, who helped organize the food drive. “She’d rather have people give in her name, than give to her.”
The food drive was executed in just one week, after parishioner Kaye Pearson hit on the idea and Roberta Pinter, Shirley May and Dalton helped call every family in the church directory to recruit donors.
The donated food was divided, part brought to the Tri County Opportunities Council in Princeton, and part to Hall Township Food Pantry in Spring Valley.
“I think it reflects so well on this congregation’s sense of care for people,” Brown said of the gift.
“For me, I had not only the joy of knowing we had done it, I had the joy of delivering it,” Brown said. Her joy is about to be compounded, as her story becomes part of a fundraiser and awareness-raiser to encourage others to remember the food pantry’s needs.
Developing a “Calendar of Giving” As Brown dropped off that donation in Spring Valley, Jan Martin, director of Project Success of Eastern Bureau County Inc., was so tickled by the story of the birthday surprise, she snapped a picture of Brown wheeling in a grocery cart full of donated food. Martin occasionally takes pictures of special donations to share with other pantry supporters and announce the good news, and, months later, she found another way to promote the pantry.
“I was going through my pictures and I thought, oh my goodness, I have enough to make a calendar,” Martin said.
And so she did.
With the help of Valley Photo in Spring Valley, Martin published a fundraiser calendar, the pantry’s second in as many years. A 2012 “Beefcake” calendar featured tasteful pictures of fully-clothed, well-known men in the area, asking donors to bring meat to the pantry. This new 2013 “Calendar of Giving,” available for $10, includes month-by-month suggestions for timely donations to meet the needs of pantry patrons.
“People want to give to the pantry, but they don’t know what our needs are,” Martin said. In April, for example, Martin asks for “April Showers,” toiletry items that cannot be purchased with food stamps. In June, the calendar reminds donors that breakfast items are a blessing for families with children who would receive a free breakfast at school, but may go hungry when school is not in session.
The photos also recognize the thoughtfulness of the community, Martin said, from 6-year-old Luke Bogatitus, who requested that friends and families make a donation to the pantry in place of giving him birthday presents, to Hall High School students who assembled and donated bicycles for a Christmas toy drive, St. Bede Academy students who competed with Hall students to pack the pantry shelves for Thanksgiving, Boy Scouts, community gardeners and more.
Calendars can be purchased at Hall Township Food Pantry, 500 N. Terry St., Spring Valley; Valley Photo, 115 E. St. Paul St., Spring Valley; or from Project Success board members.
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