Food shelf gifts to determine which ministers color hair
By RACHEL RIETSEMA
To pay the electric bill or buy groceries? That is the question of many local residents these days.
But, by just glancing inside the Ellendale United Methodist Church’s food shelf, the majority of their answers to this question becomes painfully obvious. The empty shelves speak for themselves.
“This year to date, we are at a 37 percent increase in clients from where we were last year,” said Bethany Mikesell, Ellendale Area Food Shelf Coordinator. “This is due to the tank in the economy a few years ago; the grocery price incline isn’t helping either.”
In light of these startling truths, Ellendale United Methodist’s pastor Lisa Dodd along with Pastors Patrick Stitt (Vibrant Life, Assembly of God), Carrie McElfresh (Geneva’s Community Lutheran Church) and Richard Sliper (First Lutheran Church) are taking action.
“All of us will have canisters at each of the churches and in locations like banks and cafés,” McElfresh said. “Whoever has the most donated money in their name for the food shelf gets the privilege of changing their hair color.”
Green, pink, purple, red – the dye is the limit.
“I have also heard that Mr. Domeier is itching to get his hair colored too,” Dodd said. “That would be a great way to draw in the kids at the school and make it that much more impactful.”
So, starting October 14, even just a few dollars from your wallet could make all the difference. Times are tough.
“Hunger isn’t a distant problem,” Stitt said. “As a loving community, we have to take action against it. We are united under a common faith and goal to be Christ-like in the community.”
Stitt, as well as his fellow clergy, anxiously await this two-week event’s culmination on Saturday, November 3, when the Frontier and Thrivent Financial will sponsor a dinner at the Geneva Community Center.
“We will have freewill monetary and food donations that evening,” Dodd said. “This dinner is a time for people (volunteers, volunteers, donators, clients, curious souls) from the community to come together.”
All who gather will also eventually feast their eyes on the lucky head of hair to have received the most votes.
“Whoever has the most money in their bucket will for sure color their hair,” McElfresh said. “Any other participant who has over $2,000 in their collective buckets will also get their hair colored.”
There’s also the possibility of Thrivent Financial donating 50 cents for every dollar raised, if McElfresh’s grant application is approved.
“This economic bridge grant program’s initial grant amount is for $5,000, so if we raise $10,000, we can get another five grand on top of that with the matching funds.”
Part of the sum will include monies raised from the silent auction held that same evening.
“Even though these two weeks and dinner will be fun, it’s a serious matter,” Dodd said. “Jesus said, ‘feed my sheep.’”
In point of fact, Ellendale’s food shelf serves about 60 households per month. That can equate to 400 mouths.
“Right now, the food shelf is buying the majority of the items because money and product donations are down,” Mikesell said. “We are spending on average about $1,200-1,500 a month to purchase food and only receiving about $600 in monetary donations.”
Last month, the food shelf received only about $100 in product donations. Not a good number when about 3,000 pounds are distributed every month to Ellendale, Geneva, Hope, Clarks Grove and Blooming Prairie.
“We are losing about $1,000 a month,” Mikesell said. “The variety isn’t available like we want it to be. Hot and cold breakfast cereals, protein, canned meat, dried beans, peas, lentils, peanut butter, canned soups, macaroni and cheese are all good things to donate.”
Fresh produce will never be turned away either.
“With this money, we hope to do some long-range food planning and provide some nutritional items like fresh fruits and vegetables,” Dodd said.
Mikesell added, “Monetary donations allow us to stretch our money and purchase more food. It’s also nice when people donate food because it immediately goes on the shelf.”
That serious distinction now in place, please make sure to mark your calendars for October 14 and November 3.
“The next day (November 4), I go to lectionary group in Albert Lea,” Dodd said.
McElfresh continued, “I’ll be visiting the ELC pastors of the Southeastern Minnesota Synod that day.”
But, just as they say time is fleeting, so is embarrassment.
Together, we are fighting evil,” Stitt said.