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Local churches donate lunch, backpacks to those in need

Published: Tuesday, July 16, 2013 10:47 a.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, July 17, 2013 11:02 a.m. CDT
(CNA photo by SARAH BROWN)
Riley Wipperman, 8, and Caytee Wipperman, 6, of Creston eat tatertot casserole, carrots and apples during a free lunch Monday at Creston Presbyterian Church.

Who said “there is no such thing as a free lunch?”

At First Presbyterian Church in Creston, that is not the case — for at least five weeks.


From now until Aug. 15, free lunches will be provided by six area churches 11:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. Monday through Thursday, at Creston’s Presbyterian Church, 702 W. Prairie St.

According to Peggy Tripp, a volunteer with Creston’s Presbyterian Church, the lunch is sponsored by Presbyterian Church, River of Life Assembly of God, Holy Spirit Catholic Church, First United Methodist Church and St. John’s United Church of Christ in Creston, Cromwell Congregational Church and Platte Center Presbyterian Church.

The alliance of churches, also known as One in Christ, have banded together to help a greater number of people across southwest Iowa.

Mary O’ Riley, chairwoman of St. John’s United Church of Christ, said the idea to sponsor the free lunch program was brought up by a minister at the One in Christ committee meeting.

“We just thought, it’s something that needed to be done,” said Tripp. “There are children that don’t have anything to eat, so we thought it would be something good to do.”


Feeding the hungry is not the only service project One in Christ is working on.

On July 29, volunteers from the six congregations will gather to stuff backpacks with donated school supplies for children, whose parents may not otherwise be able to afford it.

The supplies have been collected by each church through tangible gifts, such as pencils, crayons and Kleenex, and monetary donations to help purchase needed supplies.

O’Riley said the backpack project originated when the Presbyterian church gave “a handful” of backpacks to kids they knew in the school system who were in need.

“Over time the need grew,” said O’Riley.

According to O’Riley, in 13 years, the backpack project grew from “15 to 25” backpacks to 635.

“It got to be more than they (the Presbyterian Church) could handle,” said O’Riley. “Other churches and organizations wanted to reach out.”

Today, the goal of One in Christ is to deliver more than 640 backpacks to children across Southwest Iowa.

Get supplied

To request a free backpack with supplies, contact MATURA Community Action at (641) 782-8431 or Department of Health Services at (641) 782-1740.

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