LARNED — Grace Lutheran Church and the Sandstone Pumpkin Patch at 914 W. 2nd, Larned, is sponsoring a benefit for the Orphan Grain Train on Sunday, Oct. 9. A 2 p.m. family pumpkin picking will be followed by a Wisconsin style fish feed from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Proceeds from the Pumpkin Patch will be split between the Orphan Grain Train and Grace Lutheran Ministries. All free-will offerings for the fish feed will go directly to Orphan Grain Train. This is a change from the past when the Pumpkin Patch was a fundraiser for the Pawnee County Humane Society.
In 1992, Rev. Ray S. Wilke, pastor of Grace Lutheran Church in Norfolk, Neb., volunteered with a group who traveled to Latvia and Russia to help with a church mission. They met people with “no hope” in desperate need of spiritual, emotional and humanitarian aid after the breakup of the former Soviet Union.
The Latvians begged Rev. Wilke to help them more after he went home, and he promised he would.
Wilke envisioned a train that would travel through America’s Midwest, picking up donated grain along the way until it reached a port from which the grain would be shipped to feed starving orphans in Eastern Europe. Upon his return to the United States, Wilke contacted Clayton Andrews, president of Andrews Van Lines, a worldwide transportation company, and told his story. Together they founded Orphan Grain Train.
As it turned out, railroad operating protocol made the original grain train concept impractical. Within a year, Grain Train’s first shipment, a container of clothing and quilts, arrived in Riga, Latvia.
How does it work?
Volunteers throughout the United States use their own cars, trucks, horse-trailers and 18-wheelers to “climb aboard” the Orphan Grain Train. They donate desperately needed materials to people around the world.
Donated materials are shipped from Orphan Grain Train warehouses in steel containers the size of semi-truck trailers to Eastern Europe, Africa, Mexico, and Central America where they are distributed by Orphan Grain Train volunteers in churches, hospitals, orphanages, old people’s homes, schools and soup kitchens. Orphan Grain Train managers and trained volunteers distribute the goods to people in need.
In addition to international efforts, disaster relief within the United States is a key part of Orphan Train Train’s work. Since Hurricane Katrina, 147 semi loads of supplies have been shipped to the Gulf Coast to support the recovery efforts. 330 semi loads of hay and forage products were delivered in 2002-03 to drought-stricken farmers in the Midwest during Operation Hay and Grain Lift. Orphan Grain Train provided help to Greensburg, Kansas, following the tornado and has also been in Joplin, Mo.
As a 501c3 organization, Orphan Grain Train is exempt from federal income taxes and your donations are tax deductible.
The Orphan Grain Train overflows with items generously donated by caring people. That is why your prayers and cash gifts are also needed, that these items will be delivered where needed most.