Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF) recognized servant hearts for Jesus this fall during the Y.I. Service Challenge. Seven Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) congregations in the upper Midwest districts each won $1,000. Winners were randomly drawn from all entries in each participating district.
The winning congregation from the South Wisconsin District (SWD) was St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, School and Daycare, Janesville, Wisc for making and distributing baby blankets.
“Students in my first grade class tied fleece blankets with the help of their parents and grandparents for a local community hospital," wrote Schultz. “Some community families were bringing home new born babies without having blankets for them. The students went on a field trip to the hospital to deliver the blankets to the nurses. The first graders learned through their actions how important it is to serve all the members of our community, and that everyone can help no matter what your age is.”
The winning congregation from the Minnesota South District was the Lutheran Church of the Ascension, Burnsville, Minn. The congregation hosts a weekly bread give away which began in February 2016.
On Thursday evenings, left over bread and baked goods are picked up from Panera Bread, Burnsville, Minn. and brought to the church.
On Friday mornings, volunteers wrap the donations and give them away to the community between 10:00 and 11:00 a.m.
“Our group of volunteers also uses this bread distribution time for prayers and devotions. Many people stop and pray with us, or ask for prayers for them or their families,” said Henning. “Any remaining items are distributed to the Burnsville senior center, 360 Communities® and senior members of Ascension.”
Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, Urbandale, Iowa was the winning congregation in Iowa District West. Gloria Dei provides a Sack Lunch Ministry to underprivileged members of a downtown Des Moines neighborhood. “...we provided over 150 backpacks filled with school supplies [and] sack lunches every day this summer,” wrote DCE DeAnn McCue in her contest entry.
The Gloria Dei servant team also helped build a swing set/play set and distributed new and like-new clothing to members of the neighborhood. They hope to build raised garden beds and help members of the neighborhood learn how to grow and harvest their own vegetables in Iowa.
“We hope to help move them from poverty to self-sustained within the next 5 years,” wrote McCue.
The Y.I. Service Challenge also helped raise awareness that members of LCEF’s Young Investors (Y.I.) Club can earn $25/calendar year for 10 hours of community service (ages 7-18.)
If you’re looking for great community service ideas that you can do individually, or as a church or school group, check out all the wonderful servant events here.