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‘Better Together’ event set for July 25

WORTHINGTON -- When you're offered $15,000 in matching funds, you take it. Especially when it goes to a great cause. The people of Worthington are going to host a "Better Together" event on July 25, and thanks to an anonymous donor they are alrea...

WORTHINGTON - When you’re offered $15,000 in matching funds, you take it. Especially when it goes to a great cause.

 

The people of Worthington are going to host a “Better Together” event on July 25, and thanks to an anonymous donor they are already well into their fundraising for this beneficial project.

 

“‘Better Together’ (under the umbrella of The Outreach Program) is similar to Feed My Starving Children,” explained Jeanette McCormick, pastor at First Lutheran Church in Worthington, “except that the food all stays local. It also has a cultural component, which is different.”

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Better Together has two missional goals: 1) Provide opportunities for cross-cultural relationship building and 2) Provide nutritious food for local communities. Prior to each packaging shift (there will be three, plus set-up and clean-up shifts), people from various cultures will present some educational aspect about their culture for five or 10 minutes. The goal of the event is to package 100,000 meals.

 

Local pastors had been in discussion for several months regarding ways that food could be provided for schoolchildren over school holidays. Not finding an easy solution to the issue, they were excited when the director of evangelical missions for the SW MN Synod of the ELCA came and proposed this event idea to McCormick and pastor Gary Anderson at American Lutheran.

 

Not only does this help answer the need they’d been looking for, it provides even more.

 

“Worthington is such a diverse community,” McCormick explained, “so this program will work really well because it brings people from different backgrounds together to do something for the community. In fact, the program requires people of diverse backgrounds to work together on this.”

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As with other food-packaging programs that Worthington and other local communities have hosted, Better Together provides the basic ingredients and equipment for people to package meals, which will then be available for those in need. There will be four meals, all of which reflect American palates, which will be packaged in Worthington. The meals are macaroni and cheese, rice and beans, pasta with Italian tomato basil sauce and apple cinnamon oatmeal. Meals include a nutritional scoop of vitamins, and are low in fat and calories.

 

“Because the meals all stay local, storing them is an issue we had to address,” McCormick said. “W2 Quality Meats and First Lutheran both stepped up to offer storage space. We will also donate some meals to the food pantries, and every participant [in the packaging event] is allowed to bring home 30 servings worth of meals. So that’s really neat.”

 

The food which is stored will then be doled out to students throughout the school year. There are seven school holidays - long weekends or seasonal breaks - that will see children receiving food to take home over the break. Parents will be able to sign up to receive the food through the Backpack Program in the fall and through mailings to their homes.

 

McCormick is pleased with the offers of help and support that she has already received.

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“People have already been so impressive about stepping up to help,” she said. “American Reformed has offered their gym for the location, Matt Russell has offered a forklift, groups like Dream Catchers and FCCLA have committed to helping. Our church’s VBS missions offering was designated to support the event. It’s been a great way for me to get to know the community by their generosity.”

 

There are a few more donations needed, including trucks to deliver food, stepping stools for children volunteers and, of course, finances and volunteers for the day of the event.

 

“Because of the $15,000 in matching funds we are off to a great start,” enthused McCormick, “plus we’ve had generous donations from SW MN Women of ELCA, SW MN Synod of ELCA, American Lutheran and the local Ministerial Association. Manos Unidos, St. Mary’s Catholic Church, JBS and the Ethiopian Orthodox community have all stepped up to help as well. We do still need a bit more to reach our goal. Special thanks to American Reformed for hosting and to the ministerial for promoting this event.

 

“We would love to see a cross-section of people involved as volunteers,” she continued. “This is for our community, and we hope that the volunteers will reflect the diversity of our community.”

 

People may sign up to participate by contacting McCormick at felcpastor@frontier.com . They may also call First Lutheran Church at 376-6148. Shifts are at 12 to 1:30 p.m. (set-up), 1:30 to 3:30 p.m., 3:30 to 5:30 p.m., 5:30-7:30 p.m., and cleanup at 7:30-8:30. p.m.

 

Checks, made out to SW MN Synod, may be sent to SW MN Synod, ELCA / attn.: Better Together Worthington / PO Box 499 / Redwood Falls 56283. Please write “Better Together Worthington 2017” in the memo line. More information about The Outreach Program may be found at www.theoutreachprogram.org .

 

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