Six high school students from the Nain Lutheran Church in Newell realized there was a need in their community for a food pantry to serve the needy last fall.
While there are services in Storm Lake, the teens say they know it can be a hardship for some low-income persons to get there. They resolved to start a food bank in their own town.
The students first talked about the idea to their Sunday school teacher, Pam Winkel. Pam agreed with them that it was a great idea. Together they went to the church council to see if they could store food at the church and operate from there. Next the students asked the Nain congregation for donations. The response was overwhelming. It allowed them to start their food bank and rework a storage area to keep the food that was collected.
After getting started, last fall the junior high and high school students from the Nain Lutheran Church got the chance to visit the Gospel Mission lunch program in Sioux City. They made a donation to that program along with touring the facility.
After experiencing the mission, Nate Reichter said, "You learn to consider yourself lucky.
"We take our food and water for granted."
Last school year the Newell-Fonda Elementary school celebrated their 100th day of school by trying to collect 100 cans of food to donate for the food pantry. The kids at Newell-Fonda far exceeded their goal. They collected almost 300 food items to be donated.
Winkel, the group's advisor, commented that, "The community has been very supportive." She also noted that the Cyndy Bruner's Family Consumer Science, (F.C.S.) group had been a great help collecting three large boxes of food from a scavenger hunt they held. F.C.S teacher and advisor Cyndy Bruner said, "Every year the kids choose service projects to do. I leave it all up to them to decide what they will do."
The students had to go house to house knocking on doors to get a list of food that Mrs. Bruner had gone online to compile. The community and the girls had a great time collecting food and seeing who could collect the most.
As a result of the teens' efforts, Newell now has a place for families in need to turn for help - and in the process, the young people have learned a lot about themselves and about the concept of community.