Trick or Treat for the Food Shelf

Collecting donations during Trick or Treat for the Food Shelf were Michaela Bunke, left, and Alecia Meier of Oak Heights Covenant Church in Hutchinson.

Hutchinson Area Youth Ministries will be on the move Wednesday, Oct. 27, for Trick or Treat for the Food Shelf. Food can be placed on the doorstep of a home by 4 p.m. as students will be hitting the street at 5 p.m. Both food and financial donations are welcome.

Won’t be home? That’s OK. Donations can be dropped off at any of the participating churches, which includes HAY churches: Christ the King, CrossPoint, Faith Lutheran, Oak Heights, Peace Lutheran, Riverside and River of Hope. Joining for this event are also Bethlehem United Methodist, Evangelical Free, St. Anastasia, Seventh-day Adventist and Vineyard United Methodist.Amy DuFrene, Christian formation pastor at Oak Heights Covenant Church in Hutchinson, said more than 300 students and over 100 adults have participated in this event during the past few years.

Faith Lutheran of Hutchinson is a longtime participant in Trick or Treat for the Food Shelf.

“Faith Lutheran participates because we long to be the hands and feet of Jesus in our community,” said Kristen Matthews, director of Youth and Family Ministry at Faith Lutheran. “Our job as a body of believers is to serve our neighbors and love them well! With such a long history, I love the tradition and I love seeing smiling faces as we serve.

“Students look forward to this event because it’s kinesthetic,” she added. “They see what they are doing and they see the impact they can have by doing this.”

Another benefit of participating in the annual food drive is students a gain perspective of the need in the community.

“I think some students that participate have no idea how much need there is for food in McLeod County,” Matthews said. “It’s a great eye opener for them because the food shelf shares how quickly they go through their food, too, for our community.”

Like Oak Heights and Faith Lutheran, Christ the King Church in Hutchinson is a participant of long standing.

According to Derek Alter, youth ministry director at Christ the King, each year they have seventh- and eighth-grade confirmation students and a handful of high schoolers participate in Trick or Treat for the Food Shelf.

“The students look forward to this event each year because it is a great opportunity for our confirmation students to get service hours and a great way to get out in the community, collect food for a good cause, and work together with other churches to serve our neighbors in need,” he said. “The students love the opportunity to serve the community and build relationships with each other and the adult volunteers in the process.”

Alter said Christ the King loves participating for many of the same reasons as Oak Heights and Faith Lutheran.

“It is one great way that we as a church can go out into the community, make connections with people, and collect food for our neighbors in need,” he said. “We love working closely with other churches to make this event possible and to spread the good news and joy of Jesus Christ to our community.”

According to Lennie Albers, executive director of the McLeod Emergency Food Shelf, the food is much appreciated. Last year’s donation was about 12,000 pounds.

”We do this every year because there is always a need,” DuFrene said. “In years we have been told that the food we’ve collected at the event is already gone by Thanksgiving. This time of year can be extremely difficult on families and after COVID, we all can understand that a little more.” DuFrene admitted to having a vested interest in the event. She’s been doing it since seventh grade.

“... As an adult, having the students see the direct impact our work has on our community is fantastic. They also get to see how the whole community of believers come together regardless of our denominational lines. They see their neighbors, classmates and teammates serving the Lord together.”

For more information, call DeFrene at 320-587-8483 or reach out to any of the other participating churches.