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Churches accept Food Bank challenge
new slt food challenge
Area churches have been collecting money and canned goods for food banks. These items were collected by the Dominican Sisters and friends during a nine-week challenge. - photo by COURTESY PHOTO

Ecumenical Thanksgiving services announced at St. Mark, Trinity Lutheran


Pastors at two Great Bend churches encourage Christians to attend a Thanksgiving service of their choice next week. Both St. Mark Lutheran, 2101 Jackson, and Trinity Lutheran, 2701 24th St., announced special services. During these services they also will accept offerings of money and/or canned goods that will be given to the food banks of Hoisington, Rush County (in La Crosse) and Great Bend.

St. Mark Lutheran will hold a Thanksgiving service at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. Pastor Adam Wutka will be preaching at this non-communion service.

Trinity Lutheran’s Thankgiving service will be at 7 p.m. Wednesday. Holy Communion will be celebrated. Special music will be provided by Trinity’s Bell Choir and Chancel Choir. The Rev. Wutka will also be preaching for this service.

These services were announced by the Rev. Wutka, pastor of St. Mark Lutheran and St. Paul Lutheran in Galatia, and the Rev. James A. Strasen, pastor of Trinity Lutheran.





Thanksgiving was still weeks away when area churches initiated a united effort to alleviate world hunger, starting at home. This month, participants announced that a month of potluck dinners with a philanthropic twist has resulted in more staples at area food pantries. Another group is wrapping up a nine-week effort that combines fitness with a donation to the Food Bank in Great Bend.

Last month, as World Food Day was approaching, the members of Trinity Lutheran Church in Great Bend decided to organize a food drive, and issued a challenge to other congregations in the area, said Ruth Steitz, chairman of her church’s Social Concerns Team.

"We ran a letter to the editor in the paper," Steitz said. In addition to the team’s letter in the Great Bend Tribune, they spread the word via the Barton County Association of Churches.

Area churches joined congregations across the country in hosting "A Month of Potlucks" to raise awareness, educate and raise funds in the fight against world hunger, said Steitz, referring to the Evangelical Lutheran Churches of America website

Oct. 16 was World Food Day, and Trinity Lutheran had a potluck dinner the following day. The church sent a challenge to others, "to have a potluck dinner or raise funds however you choose, sometime during the month of October." Funds and food could go to area food banks or to the churches’ own hunger programs.

Churches reported back this month this the following results:

• First Christian Church held a potluck on the evening of Oct. 6 and raised $71, designated to fight hunger.

• Trinity Lutheran Church’s potluck on Oct. 17 raised $242, designated for the Food Bank and the ELCA World Hunger Appeal, and $30 designated for Bread for the World.

• First Presbyterian Church took a collection on their monthly Ministry Night and raised $131, designated for the Food Bank.

Meanwhile, the Dominican Sisters were conducting their own program, a combination of wellness and community service, said Rita Pivonka, coordinator of administrative services. Starting on Sept. 20, Motherhouse sisters, partners in mission and employees conducted a walking program. Each of the 23 participants pledged to walk at least five miles and donate an item for the Food Bank every week for nine weeks. When it wraps up this Saturday, they will have collected more than 200 items for the Food Bank.

This project was already under way when Trinity Lutheran issued its challenge, Pivonka said. But she welcomed the concerted effort to alleviate hunger.

Pivonka first came up with the idea of challenging people to walk or bike and give to the Food Bank about five years ago, so this was the second time she had coordinated such an effort. "This time ... we had a few participate the ‘couch potato’ way," she said, explaining people who weren’t able to join the exercise program were still able to contribute.

The efforts to raise awareness and alleviate world hunger continue. Next week, Trinity Lutheran and St. Mark Lutheran will accept offerings of money and/or food during Thanksgiving services.