ST. JOHN’S COMMUNITY GARDEN – Updated on July 22, 2021…our garden is growing and produce is being harvested!

On May 26, 2021 St. John’s members came together to plant a community garden.  Throughout the summer, members will pitch in to help with watering, weeding and harvesting when the time comes.  Thank you to everyone who is helping with this project and a special thank you to Amanda Meyer for having the vision and initiative to get this organized.  Many in the community will be blessed by this act of kindness.

ITEMS FOR NEW LIFE FAMILY SERVICES were donated by St. John’s members.  New Life Family Services is a Christian, non-profit pregnancy resource center and licensed adoption agency that helps women in crisis pregnancy situations with counsel and support. Families will be blessed by 52 pieces of donated clothing and 933 diapers (10 boxes).  In addition, $363 was collected to purchase more clothes and $250 was given directly to New Life which will help them purchase other needed items. This project was organized by the Christian Service Committee and a special thank you to Kay Narveson and Pam Waugh for doing extra shopping and to Kay for delivering the items!  This was a heartfelt and faith-filled response to the Lord’s love!!

ITEMS FOR ROCHESTER COMMUNITY WARMING CENTER (RCWC) were donated by St. John’s members.  The RCWC provides emergency shelter for Rochester area homeless adults for overnight stays in the winter months. The clients will be warm and blessed by 189 pairs of socks, 23 pairs of gloves, nine hats and two scarves.  Also, a Thrivent Action card along with monetary donations bought hand sanitizer, shampoo and other items.  This project was organized by the Christian Service Committee and a special thank you to Kris Henke for delivering the items!

ST. JOHN’S SERVE OUR COMMUNITY DAY was held on Saturday, October 24, 2020.  Although it was a chilly day, three yards were raked by 10 members St. John’s.  We thank Gary Betcher, David and Emily Fritsch, Ev Giordano, Denise Hatteberg, Bruce Narveson, John Rud, Arleen Shaw, Dave Smidt and Pastor Justin for helping out!  One of the homeowners commented “It warmed my heart that St. John’s offered this service.”  Special thanks to the Christian Outreach committee for organizing this event.

A “SOUPER” Bowl soup collection for Channel One was organized by the Ladies Aid on February 2.  A total of 297 cans were collected with the final count as follows: 49er’s–132, Chiefs–123, Who Cares–42.  Although the Chiefs won the Super Bowl, the real winners were the many people who will have hot meals through this act of kindness.  We thank Becky and Buck Fredricksen and their grandson, Grayson, for delivering the 270.5 pounds of soup to Channel One.

Wee Care kids get involved in the community!  Thank you to the Wee Care students and their families for demonstrating kindness to those in need.

–Wee Care families donated toys to the annual Stewartville Lions Club Christmas Anonymous program.

–Wee Care families also donated 35 sets of new socks to the Kiwanis Club annual “Sock It To Em” sock drive.

Ronald McDonald House Dinners – Members of the JUMP Group (people in their 40s and 50s) periodically prepare and serve dinner at the Ronald McDonald House in Rochester.  The dinner program offers children and families staying at the Ronald McDonald House the comfort a warm and delicious meal.  The JUMP group prepared the meal on November 18 and will do so again on Tuesday, February 18.  They hope to make this a quarterly event.  It is a joy to be part of this wonderful service.

Meals On Wheels – Every second full week of each month St. John’s members deliver Meals on Wheels.  Members pick up food containers at the Stewartville Care Center Monday through Friday, between 11 and 11:15.  Deliveries take about 45-60 minutes.  Through Meals on Wheels recipients are able to improve or maintain health and remain living independently in their own home.  Thank you very much to everyone who helps with this most significant work.

Members of the Ladies Aid periodically deliver donations to two of Stewartville’s public schools.

They take snacks to Bonner Elementary to give to teachers to have on hand and use as needed.  Some students are not able to bring their own snacks and this helps ensure that all the students have something to enjoy.

The Ladies also take donations to the REACH program at Stewartville High School.  The REACH program helps students who need support meet personal and emotional needs so that academic success can occur.  The donations help provide a comfortable space in which interactions can occur.

Church members volunteer to help at Channel One.  Once a month members help organize food donations that come in to Channel One.  The next shift will be on Tuesday, November 26, from 6:30 to 8pm.  Channel One is located at 131 35th St. SE in Rochester, near Whistle Binkies.  The ideal number of volunteers is ten and all must be over the age of 10.  Sign-up at church on the bulletin board across from Pastor Justin’s office or use the Task Force page on the church website.  Meet at Channel One at 6:30pm.  Future dates are: January 28, February 25, March 24, April 28 and May 26.

The Backpack Program is a partnership with Channel One, the school and St. John’s. Each week during the school year, members pick up food from Channel One and pack it into bags assigned by number to a child at Bonner Elementary. The volunteers then deliver the backpacks to Bonner where school staff distribute them on Friday as kids head home for the weekend. Children enrolled in the Backpack Program are chosen based upon eligibility for free and reduced price lunches as identified by Bonner school. The backpack program provides nutritious, child-friendly, easy-to-prepare food to hungry children. We are currently packing bags for 24 students.

uConnect is a ministry to UMR (University Minnnesota Rochester) students operated by the nine congregations of our Rochester Circuit.  Every Saturday during the school year our Circuit churches take turns providing a noon meal and conversing with the students, sharing with them the love of Christ.  St. John’s provided and served the meal on September 14 and November 2.  We will do so again twice in the spring semester.