Church steps up for local ministry

A total of 111 families in Marion County will have a happier Thanksgiving Day, thanks to the generosity of the Ebenfeld Mennonite Brethren Church congregation.

Sara Wichert, EMBC member, said the turkey basket program is now in its fourth year.

?The first year was 2009,? she said, ?and we set a goal of 50 baskets, but we got 75 requests.

?(After that first year) we have been making our goal bigger and bigger every year.?

Wichert said church members begin collecting food items a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving.

Then a few days before the holiday weekend, the food is packed up and taken to Main Street Ministries.

?(Church members) either give money or food,? she said. ?Some families will put together a whole basket.?

Kimberly Swaney, director of MSM, said only four families didn?t pick up their turkey baskets Saturday.

?We made home drops,? she said.

For the other families needing assistance, each group was ?very thankful,? Swaney said.

Instead of having turkey vouchers or turkeys in the baskets, she said, it was decided to go with a meat voucher.

?In talking with other food banks or hearing about other places giving out turkeys, she said many turkeys would be thrown away in the trash,? she said.

?Some didn?t have pots or pans to make the turkey, didn?t grow up eating turkey or never made it before.?

The voucher offers each family a choice of having hamburger, ham, or another type of meat.

Swaney also showed the breakdown in percentages of the cities served with the turkey basket program.

In Hillsboro it was 37 percent; Peabody, 22 percent; Marion, 12 percent; Lincolnville, 5 percent; Walton, Burns and Goessel, each at 1 percent; Tampa, Wichita and Lehigh at 2 percent; Lost Springs, 5 percent, and Florence, 4 percent.

Swaney said that every year the food bank at MSM needs to increase its food budget because more people are in need of help.

Every Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon, the food bank is open to anyone who needs extra groceries.

Swaney said the food bank volunteers don?t ask for proof of income.

The only time they would check income guidelines is when distributing the USDA commodities, she said.

?Main Street Ministries serves all of Marion County,? Swaney said. ?Even those who live in the apartments come from Marion County and beyond.?

Some areas, she said, include Hesston, El Dorado and out-of-state.

Another fact that some people may not realize is that MSM serves the entire county, not just Hillsboro.

?We have people coming to the food bank from Marion, Ramona, Durham, Peabody and other locations?some even car pool to save money.?

Local churches, families, individuals, businesses and a few grants help stock the food bank.

?We purchase in bulk,? she said, ?and through Dale?s Market and sometimes Vogts Hometown Grocery, we are able to stretch our dollar.?

During a time when many people give thanks for what they have, Swaney also wanted to thank EMBC and Dale?s Grocery for partnering with MSM to help so many families in need.

?It wouldn?t happen if so many people weren?t working together as well as they do,? she said.

For more information about MSM or the local food bank, call 620-947-3393.

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